It's pretty much a given that laptops are going to get thinner and thinner. Take Microsoft Surface for example. It's got that tablet keyboard-cover that's alllmost but not really usable. The problem with it is that is there's no haptic feedback. The raised keys help a little, but without any movement, you just can't get going very fast. The hand is quicker than the eye. This new tech from Novasentis could totally change that.
The Clic 1010 EMP is essentially an actuator and sensor rolled into one. Basically it's a single-layer key, that can not only move, it can also provide adjustable haptic and audio feedback. For all that, it's can be made as small as 10 x 10 millimeters and as thin as 120 microns. It's actually pretty incredible.
At a resting state they keys are flat, when power is fed to them, though, they curve upward, giving you something you can press down. They certainly don't have as much travel as a laptop keyboard, but it's a whole lot better than no travel at all. As you depress the key, it gives your finger a gentle little vibration and an audible buzz. Both can be adjusted, though, incase you're in a quiet room and would rather not make any noise. We got to try it at CES Unveiled tonight, and it felt pretty good!
We don't know yet when we'll start seeing these emerge in actual buyable products, but Samsung is now one of Novesentis' main investors, and it sounds like they'll be announcing more partnerships as early as tomorrow. It's good to hear that somewhere down the road we may have an ultra-flat tablet cover that's actually nice to type on. Here's hoping.