Synaptics Gives Your Thumbs A New Workout With SmartBar Capacitive Touch Spacebar

When it comes to touchpad technology, we often see new innovations every once in a while. Apple helped popularize the multi-touch trackpad, and Apple again stepped up its game with the new Force Touch trackpad which allows provides haptic feedback in a thinner design profile. Even Synaptics has further advanced the touch pad with the SecurePad, which integrates a 4mmx10mm capacitive fingerprint sensor directly into the trackpad surface.

But what about keyboards? We’ve seen some advancements in the mechanical operation of keyboards, and sure plenty of us have used backlit keyboards on notebooks and gaming keyboards, but that’s old hat these days. So leave it to Synaptics to revolutionize one of the most often used keys on the modern keyboard: the spacebar. Synaptics’ SmartBar incorporates a capacitive touch sensor directly into the spacebar, allowing it to serve as an additional controller for zooming (including double-thumb pinch zooming), text editing, and numerous customizable functions that can be enabled using an included macro editor (I can just imagine gamers salivating right now).


For example, with Rapid Editing, the user can perform a single-thumb swipe gesture and insert an entire word into a documents or web field. And swipe gestures can be remapped to up to five logical buttons to “[provide] shortcuts to critical game controls or repetitive desktop functions.”

It should come as no surprise that gaming peripheral makers are hip to Synaptics’ SmartBar, with Tt eSPORTS being one of the first to incorporate the technology. “Tt eSPORTS, with Synaptics’ innovative SmartBar technology, is once again leading the industry with creative and exciting solutions that will benefit our customers,” said Thermaltake CEO Kenny Lin. “Enabling keyboard spacebars with this powerful solution highlights our commitment to offering the most personalized and highest quality experience.”

The SmartBar is available right now for OEMs, which means that we should begin seeing shipping products before the end of this year.