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Firm smoothes out cloth keyboard

London-based start-up ElectroTextiles has demonstrated a keyboard made of a soft, water-resistant cloth, which the company claims could be a breakthrough for mobile computing. The fabric, called ElekTex, can receive and transmit electronic impulses without wiring or circuitry and can be folded and put into a pocket. The use of fabric also means it is lightweight and damage-resistant, the company said. "People's first impressions are, 'Whoa, it's fabric, it must be a little flimsy.' But it's very durable," ElectroTextiles co-founder Chris Chapman told journalists. The keyboard, initially for handheld computers, has been on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art and this week at an IT expo in France. It is set for release by the year's end. Staff writer Matthew Broersma reported from London.

London-based start-up ElectroTextiles has demonstrated a keyboard made of a soft, water-resistant cloth, which the company claims could be a breakthrough for mobile computing. The fabric, called ElekTex, can receive and transmit electronic impulses without wiring or circuitry and can be folded and put into a pocket. The use of fabric also means it is lightweight and damage-resistant, the company said.

"People's first impressions are, 'Whoa, it's fabric, it must be a little flimsy.' But it's very durable," ElectroTextiles co-founder Chris Chapman told journalists. The keyboard, initially for handheld computers, has been on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art and this week at an IT expo in France. It is set for release by the year's end.

Staff writer Matthew Broersma reported from London.