KeyCase for Logitech
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A tech fabric-enabled Palm keyboard and case
Logitech’s new KeyCase is a combination keyboard and case for Palm handheld computers. Made of an innovative “smart fabric,” the keyboard wraps around the Palm when not in use, providing a soft but protective cover. To begin working the user merely unfolds the keyboard and slides the SmartMotion Cradle up to move the Palm into typing position, which turns the handheld on instantly and activates the keyboard. The comfortable keyboard also provides stylus-free navigation with enhanced access to the Palm’s applications by use of the dedicated function keys and the “on-screen button” key. The keyboard weighs less than five ounces, and is only five millimeters thick.
The Logitech KeyCase keyboard is made of ElekTex, a proprietary fabric technology from ElekSen, combining conductive fibers with traditional fibers. It can accurately sense location and pressure, so users can control behaviors like scrolling or repetition by pressing down longer. The silicon-and-fabric keyboard is tough enough to withstand the rigors of daily use and is easily cleaned using a damp cloth.
IDEO first worked with ElekSen to incorporate their new ElekTex material into a number of product concepts, including computer keyboards, cell phones, and watches. This exploration was called Fabrications, and helped define the future for this novel technology. ElekSen and IDEO then jointly explored ideas to make an innovative fabric keyboard and case specifically for handheld PDAs, including developing the self-deploying stand with its unique sliding connector and “auto-on” feature.
Logitech and ElekSen, with IDEO’s support, worked to develop the KeyCase keyboard to the point of production, with IDEO’s engineers building prototype and production tools as well as initially debugging manufacturing, molding, and assembly. Logitech KeyCase is the first commercial product to use ElekSen’s ElekTex technology.
Project date: 2001