The Surface Neo is a productivity device, and for maximum productivity a hard keyboard is essential.

Microsoft will be releasing a keyboard cover for the Surface Neo which attaches magnetically and will turn the lower touch screen into a hard keyboard. The area above or below the keyboard can then be used as a mousepad or for other uses.

Now a newly published patent has revealed the technology behind the keyboard cover, and it appears to be a throwback to an old idea.

The patent notes:

“The network of electrical conductors is configured to conduct a drive signal to the inner portion of the key, the drive signal being received, during the depression of the key, at a locus of touch screen directly beneath the key,” the filing reads.

It appears the screen will be forming an essential part of the keyboard, and will in fact be sensing the keypress.

This appears to be similar to a very old idea, from around when the iPad and large touch screen phones were introduced.

Above is the Touchfire keyboard, which uses a similar idea to bring a tactile feel to the iPad keyboard.

Interestingly Microsoft’s patent also notes the keyboard keys could be substantially transparent or substantially translucent, making Microsoft’s solution even closer to the Touchfire keyboard.

Hopefully, however, Microsoft’s keyboard will offer a much better typing experience than jelly keys TouchFire offered.

The full patent can be seen here.

Via WindowsLatest.