How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Testing the Behaviour of a Keyboard using a Texture Analyser

Testing keyboard actuation force
When performing an objective test on a keyboard, the main components under investigation are the switches, actuated by pressing keys.

From keyboard to keyboard, there is little a given manufacturer can do to affect a switch's performance. The switches come in batches from switch makers, and keyboard manufacturers mount them onto printed circuit boards and do not have the ability to alter them. Seth Colaner at Tom’s Hardware has developed a procedure for testing mechanical keyboard switches using a TA.XTplus Texture Analyser.

Previous attempts at testing switch performance has involved the use of small weights, but this is not an accurate technique. Maintaining the balance of multiple weights placed on top of keys with varying geometry affects the measurement as it is easy for weights to move off-centre. Additionally, the forces required to actuate a switch can be very small (on the order of 50g), so the way even small weights are placed can fluctuate the actual load and throw off the measurement.