Synaptics shows off ThinTouch capacitive keyboard for ultrabooks

Synaptics is best known for making touchpad hardware and software for that big touch-friendly area below the keyboard on your notebooks. But the company is also showing off new tech called ThinTouch which is all about the keyboard.

The company’s ThinTouch concept features keys that are thinner than those found on a typical laptop, but they can offer the same amount of travel because they’re hooked up to adjustable magnets. They also support capacitive touch, which lets them detect different states including when your fingers are touching, tapping, and hovering over the keyboard.

Synaptics ThinTouch

One of the most useful upshots of this is better palm rejection technology. When your fingers are over the keyboard, the touchpad can automatically ignore any input from your palm so that you don’t accidentally move the cursor.

The prototype the company is showing off right now felt pretty good — but not quite as good as a standard keyboard. Synaptics is still working out the kinks int he system.

Synaptics says its working with multiple OEMs to incorporate the technology in future laptops, and we could start to see new systems with ThinTouch in the second half of 2013.