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World’s thinnest touch interface to be unveiled by British firm at IFA 2013

A British firm has developed the world's thinnest keyboard which can be placed on any surface, transforming it into a touch sensitive pad.

The paper thin device is less than half a millimetre thick and has principally been designed for use with smartphones and tablets, CSR, the Cambridge based wireless technology specialist behind the innovation said.

Extremely lightweight and flexible, the keyboard is also sensitive enough to pick up handwriting and sketches drawn on it using a special pen.

The product will be unveiled at the IFA electronics fair in Berlin this week, but it will be 12 months until it is available to consumers. Currently it is compatible with iOS7 mobile devices and Windows 8 PCs.

CSR's technology uses a new ultra small chip optimised for Bluetooth Smart to connect to other devices wirelessly. This has allowed for the small size of the product and also means that it uses a fraction of the power of standard Bluetooth, providing optimum battery life.

"Consumers want innovative, portable wireless accessories that just work with their mobile devices," says Paul Williamson, Director of Low Power Wireless at CSR.

"The ultra-thin touch surface we've developed is a perfect example of how Bluetooth Smart can give them just that. We're committed to working collaboratively with developers using the CSR µEnergy platform to help them bring similar next-generation accessories to the market quickly."

The ultra-thin wireless touch surface was developed by CSR in partnership with touch screen firm Atmel and circuits specialist Conductive Inkjet Technology (CIT).

The device uses Atmel's touch silicon to sense multiple contact points on a surface, and can offer a full touch surface or, for a preserved battery life, just keyboard detection.

To allow for the flexible membrane, CIT prints the interface made from copper and other conductors onto the surface. This technique means the keyboard can be printed to fit a range of tablet shapes and sizes, as well as opening up other customization options.

Head over to ITProPortal's live coverage of IFA 2013 to keep up with all the latest developments and announcements from the conference.