A Japanese company called Minebea has announced [press release in English] a series of input devices, namely a keyboard, remote control and calculator, that have three things in common: They are stylish (with a mirror look), offer no physical buttons and are really flat. Based on a “next generation” input system Minebea has dubbed COOL LEAF, the designers did away with all key tops.
Instead, users will type or press “non-physical” buttons or characters on a shiny, flat mirror panel that has a light guide plate-type backlight. Minebea uses a special film made by Japanese chemical giant Toray in the flat top, and electrostatic capacity type touch panel with force sensors beneath and said backlight as the bottom layer.
Another selling point (apart from the beauty-factor): Mineba says the devices (named Φ-QWERTY, Φ-Calcs, and Φ-Remote) are much easier to keep clean than their conventional counterparts.
In the press release, Minebea is already speaking about commercializing the technology but doesn’t go into details.