Capacitive technology isn’t limited to touchscreens. Some keyboards use this same technology to detect key presses. Capacitive keyboards leverage capacitor pads. With these capacitor pads, they are able to detect key presses without the need for separate moving parts. Here are five facts about capacitive keyboards.
#1) Pressing a Key Changes the Capacitance
When you press a key on a capacitive keyboard, you’ll change the capacitance of the underlying capacitor pad. Each key has a capacitor pad. Capacitor keyboards will apply a static, uniform charge to these capacitor pads. Pressing a key will force it to make contact with the underlying capacitor pad. The capacitor pad’s capacitance will then change, and the capacitor keyboard will register it as a key press.
#2) Short Travel Distance
Capacitive keyboards have a short travel distance. Travel distance, of course, is the distance a key must travel when pressed. Some keyboards have a travel distance of 4 millimeters, whereas others have a travel distance of 2 millimeters. The longer the travel distance, the farther down you’ll have to press the keys. But capacitive keyboards have a natural short travel distance thanks to their use of capacitor pads.
#3) Quiet Operation
They aren’t necessarily silent, but capacitive keyboards have a quieter operation than many other types of keyboards. Mechanical keyboards, for instance, produce more noise. Mechanical keyboards are characterized by the use of separate moving parts for their keys. Capacitive keyboards still “move,” but they detect key presses by measuring changes in capacitance — specifically the capacitance of their capacitor pads. The end result is a quieter operation that many users prefer.
Capacitive keyboards are long-lasting. They can last for many years. Some capacitive keyboards, in fact, will never fail. This is because they measure capacitance rather than using moving parts to detect key presses. As long as electricity is flowing to the capacitor pads, the capacitive keyboard should work. They only stop working if they are unable to generate or measure capacitance.
#5) Available With LED Backlighting
You can find capacitive keyboards with and without light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting. LED backlighting consists of LED bulbs that are placed behind the keys. They don’t affect the way in which capacitive keyboards detect key presses; capacitive keyboards will still measure the capacitance of their capacitor pads. But LED backlighting will illuminate the keys so that they are easier to see in low-light conditions.