Also known as elastomeric keypads, silicone rubber keypads have become increasingly popular in recent years. Featuring an elastic webbing component made of silicone rubber, they offer are both reliable and inexpensive. Unfortunately, though, there are several common misconceptions surrounding silicone rubber keypads, some of which are described here.
#1) Silicone Rubber Keypads Don’t Produce Tactile Feedback
Even with their soft and elastic webbing material, silicone rubber keypads are still capable of producing tactile feedback. In fact, nearly all silicone rubber keypads produce tactile feedback naturally when pressed. Pressing a key causes the silicone rubber webbing to deform. And when you release your finger, the key “snaps” back up, thus creating tactile feedback.
#2) Silicone Rubber Keypads Are Expensive
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although there are exceptions, silicone rubber keypads typically cost less than other types of keypads. As a result, they offer an attractive option for budget-conscious consumers and business owners. Whether you’re purchasing one silicone rubber keypad or 100, you can rest assured knowing that you are getting a good deal.
#3) Silicone Rubber Keypads Don’t Support Backlighting
You might be surprised to learn that silicone rubber keypads can, in fact, use backlighting. Common backlights used in silicone rubber keypads include light guides, electroluminescent (EL) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Normally, backlights are used in conjunction with laser etching. Laser etching is performed on silicone rubber keypads to selectively remove some of the material covering the keys. The backlight is then able to illuminate the silicone rubber keypad through the laser-etched surface. The combination of laser etching with backlighting enhances the keypad’s aesthetics while also minimizing the risk of typing or input errors.
#4) Silicone Rubber Keypads Are Only Used in Commercial Applications
Even if you’re unfamiliar with silicone rubber keypads, you’ve probably used them in the past. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t used strictly in commercial applications. Silicone rubber keypads are used extensively in consumer applications as well. From smartphones and TV remotes to kids’ toys and video game consoles, countless consumer products feature silicone rubber keypads.
#5) Silicone Rubber Keypads Have a Rough Corner Radius
Another myth you shouldn’t believe is that silicone rubber keypads have a rough corner radius. While corner radius varies depending on the specific type of silicone rubber keypad, as well as its intended application, most have a sharp corner radius. For example, it’s not uncommon for silicone rubber keypads to have a corner radius of just 0.55 mm, which is very sharp.