A few months ago, we tested the a prototype of the Synaptics ThinTouch keyboard. Designed for ultrabooks, it incorporated some new and interesting features: a capacitive system that could detect fingers hovering, lightly touching, or pressing hard on the keys, as well as a diagonal design meant to give the illusion of a deeper key press. Capacitive features, meanwhile, could enable things like hover gestures or palm rejection on the touchpad while typing. Here at CES, we've gotten to try an updated version, this one with a nearly fully functional keyboard. Though the capacitive features weren't working, it was our first time typing on more than a single key of the ThinTouch.
While the feel of the keys will vary depending on manufacturer, the ones we tried were extremely thin, relying on diagonal movement to provide feedback. The vague feeling that the keys were sliding was odd, but they didn't stop short like they might have with a straight up and down trajectory. Overall, however, either the design or the fact that it's a prototype meant that the keys felt loose in their sockets, occasionally sticking, and certain keys didn't respond readily to our touch. There are still several months until the ThinTouch sees mass production in the second half of 2013, but so far, the keyboard is clearly a work in progress.