Synaptics is best known for the technology behind millions of touchpad, built-in notebook keyboards, but at Computex 2015, the company introduced a new device that is actually an integral part of the keyboard. It’s called Synaptics SmartBar and, as its name indicates, will push manufacturers to build computer keyboards with touch-sensitive bar space that will allow you to scroll, zoom and perform other gestures without taking your hands off the keyboard.
Since thumbs usually rest on the ends of the spacebar, when you type, Synaptics has thought it would be faster and easier (at least theoretically) use this big button to launch applications, select text or perform other functions. The idea is not to replace the mouse or touchpad, but to create a system that at least may reduce their use.
Synaptics includes support for some basic features, such as swipe and zoom, but there will also be the ability to manage up to five virtual buttons for macros. This is useful for gamers and other users who type certain key combinations repeatedly and regularly.
SmartBar technology is already available to PC manufacturers and Tt eSPORTS, a subsidiary of Thermaltake, it is one of the first companies to release a keyboard with this technology. At the moment we have no information about when they come on the market the first notebook and desktop keyboards with Synaptics SmartBar, but tentatively discuss this issue again in the new year.