Keyboards play an important role in computers and other electronic devices. When a touchscreen interface isn’t used, keyboards offer a viable means of input, allowing users to enter commands and control the connected device. While there are dozens of different types of the keyboards, one of the newest styles is a flexible keyboard.

As the name suggests, flexible keyboards are designed to bend and flex without breaking. They contain a full arrangement of keys, though the distance between the keys is typically shorter than that of a traditional mechanical keyboard. Many users prefer flexible keyboards over their mechanical counterpart because of their inherit ability to bend and flex.

So, what are flexible keyboards made of? The most common material used in their construction is silicone rubber. Silicone rubber contains the perfect balance of strength and flexibility. It’s strong enough to withstand impact, yet it’s still soft enough to bend and flex without breaking. Of course, there are other materials used to produce flexible keyboards, though silicone rubber is the most popular.

There are several benefits associated with flexible keyboards. Because it’s designed with bendable materials, it can be folded into a compact design; thus, allowing for easier transportation. For instance, users can carry a flexible keyboard in a backpack or even their pants pocket by folding it up, whereas a mechanical keyboard would require substantially more space.

Flexible keyboards also use the same connection methods as mechanical keyboards, such as USB cables. Assuming your computer has a USB port, you should be able to use a flexible keyboard with it. Simply plug the flexible keyboard into the USB port, at which point your computer should read it (note: it may require the installation of a new driver).

Additionally, many flexible keyboards are also designed to be water and dust proof. Silicone rubber is particularly effective for this purpose. When used to design keyboards, silicone rubber creates impermeable shell that protects against the intrusion of moisture and foreign objects. If the keyboard is intended for use outdoors, a waterproof coating such as this is an invaluable feature that will ultimately prolong its life.

A flexible keyboard is just one of many alternatives to traditional mechanical keyboards, however. Another alternative is a thumb-sized keyboard, which is an even smaller variation. Thumb-sized keyboards are typically used for smartphones and personal digital assistants. Nonetheless, flexible keyboards are the only style of keyboard that can bend and flex without breaking.