Glass as an Operating surface

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Glass as an Operating surface

GETT has the largest port­fo­lio of glass key­boards. On the one hand, there are many dif­fer­ent options, but, on the oth­er hand, just as many pos­si­ble fields of appli­ca­tion. They range from design-ori­ent­ed set­tings to indus­tri­al oper­at­ing places and even med­ical and hygiene-sen­si­tive envi­ron­ments. A glass key­board pro­vides a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing feel­ing than a tra­di­tion­al PC key­board.  But why do glass or touch key­boards exist at all? What are the advan­tages of this mate­r­i­al and what spe­cif­ic ben­e­fits does it pro­vide for users?

A Glimpse into the Past — How long have glass keyboards existed?

Oper­at­ing sur­faces made of glass came to the fore in the pub­lic are­na about 15 years ago. Apple was the dri­ving force behind this. The first desk­top key­boards with a glass sur­face appeared at about the same time, rather as a pio­neer­ing feat. They han­dled all the func­tions of a tra­di­tion­al PC key­board. How­ev­er, they enjoyed lit­tle suc­cess at the begin­ning, but from 2010 onwards, they expe­ri­enced a boom, which is still con­tin­u­ing today, when peo­ple rec­og­nized that the tech­nol­o­gy not only works well, but is trendy and func­tion­al too.

What does the glass have to do?

In spe­cial­ist terms, any type of glass that is used for oper­at­ing devices and there­fore touch key­boards is assigned to so-called tech­ni­cal glass forms. As they work using a capac­i­tive mode of action, the glass ini­tial­ly has to sat­is­fy pure­ly phys­i­cal require­ments. The types of glass there­fore may not have any metal­lic struc­tures or air gaps, like safe­ty or heat-proof glass forms. Untreat­ed glass is just as unsuit­able because it is not robust enough. The mate­r­i­al is select­ed with dif­fer­ent thick­ness­es and var­i­ous fin­ish­es, depend­ing on the type of prod­uct and where it is going to be used.

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Touch key­boards, which are used and installed in commercial/industrial set­tings, use a strong glass front pan­el that is at least three mil­lime­ters thick so that they can cope with the tougher envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions. They are also nor­mal­ly ther­mal­ly tem­pered. Arti­fi­cial ten­sion is pro­duced using a heat­ing and cool­ing process and this pro­vides a high degree of resis­tance to impacts, bend­ing and scratch­es as well as a high lev­el of ther­mal shock resis­tance.

Touch key­boards, which are used at PC work­sta­tions, use a very thin glass sur­face, sim­i­lar to smart­phones. The glass obtains a high degree of com­pres­sion stress on its sur­face through chem­i­cal tem­per­ing, which is achieved using an ion exchange process; this makes it far less sen­si­tive than untreat­ed glass. Goril­la glass is a good exam­ple of this type of glass.


Which Advantages does Glass Have as an Operating Surface for Keyboards?

Glass as a sur­face mate­r­i­al has advan­tages that can bare­ly be guar­an­teed by any oth­er mate­r­i­al in this com­bi­na­tion.

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Inherent stability

Glass has a high lev­el of inher­ent rigid­i­ty from a par­tic­u­lar mate­r­i­al thick­ness upwards (from two mil­lime­ters for ther­mal­ly tem­pered white glass) and can there­fore be used as an oper­at­ing sur­face and a mechan­i­cal trans­fer medi­um at the same time.

Resistance

Glass is sur­pris­ing­ly more resis­tant than oth­er sup­pos­ed­ly robust mate­ri­als. It resists mechan­i­cal effects like impacts or vibra­tions as a result of tem­per­ing process­es. It hard­ly ages, so to speak, and is not prone to cor­ro­sion.

Suitable for hygiene

Thanks to its flat, even and strong sur­face, glass is ide­al if hygiene and clean­li­ness are impor­tant cri­te­ria. It is easy to remove fats, oils, bac­te­ria and germs – or use dis­in­fec­tants too.

Design value

Touch key­boards can incor­po­rate almost unlim­it­ed designs, because glass can be print­ed. Apart from dis­play­ing the keys and their sym­bols, which are tied to fixed posi­tions, com­plete­ly free designs can be includ­ed com­par­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly.


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How Do Users Benefit?

Admit­ted­ly, the first time that you type on a com­plete­ly flat sur­face, it does seem rather strange. How­ev­er, let us be hon­est – who has not been mak­ing full use of the screen key­board on their smart­phone for some time? And if your smart­phone uses a dif­fer­ent tech­nol­o­gy (pro­ject­ed capac­i­tive touch screens), the prin­ci­ple is still the same. So, what are the spe­cif­ic ben­e­fits?

Fact 1 — Exerts less pressure on your wrists and finger joints

Typ­ing on a key­board with a glass sur­face exerts less pres­sure on your wrists and fin­ger joints than using a tra­di­tion­al PC key­board in phys­i­o­log­i­cal and func­tion­al terms. Your com­plete man­u­al motor sys­tem is per­ma­nent­ly relieved because there is no mechan­i­cal hub and there is there­fore no need to exert any oper­at­ing force.

Fact 2 — Protection from dirt

The enclosed sur­face offers users pro­tec­tion from dirt and there­fore pre­vents sources of germs from devel­op­ing. A brief wipe is enough to be on the safe side.

Fact 3 — Touch keyboards create a “wow” effect

Your eye always types as well! Touch key­boards cre­ate a “wow” effect and sim­ply make the most com­mon­ly used work­ing device in the office more styl­ish. They fit per­fect­ly into high-qual­i­ty, mod­ern office envi­ron­ments and cre­ate high­lights where gen­er­al drea­ri­ness oth­er­wise threat­ens to gain the upper hand.

Fact 4 — Individually set the touch sensitivity

The keys on a mechan­i­cal key­board have a defined oper­at­ing force, which is there­fore the same for every­body. Touch key­boards allow you to indi­vid­u­al­ly set the touch sen­si­tiv­i­ty and there­fore enable oper­at­ing sen­si­tiv­i­ty that is geared to an indi­vid­ual per­son.

Fact 5 — The general user preference with keyboards is increasingly moving towards “typing on glass”.

The gen­er­al user pref­er­ence with key­boards is increas­ing­ly mov­ing towards “typ­ing on glass”. Thanks to the absolute dom­i­nance of smart­phones, expec­ta­tions for key­boards are chang­ing too. If the first glass key­boards were viewed with sus­pi­cion and even doubts 15 years ago, they are now accept­ed as a mat­ter of fact. Not only dig­i­tal natives, but also those born into an ana­log world now auto­mat­i­cal­ly type on the screen key­boards of their smart­phones. Non-vir­tu­al touch key­boards allow this too – even if they are very large.


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