What Is A Membrane Switch? Technology 101

From the keyboard that you use at your home or work computer every day to the microwave you use to heat up your lunch, membrane switches have become a common part of modern technology. If you find yourself wondering, ‘What is a membrane switch,’ you’ve come to the right place.

What is a Membrane Switch?

A membrane switch is a small, soft switch that is often activated by contact. That means it’s used in things like buttons to allow the button to press down on the switch and activate it. Think of the way your computer keyboard works. You press down on a key, that key presses down on the membrane switch in your keyboard, which sends an electrical signal to your computer notifying it which key you just pressed. Still wondering what is a membrane switch exactly? That’s really it! It’s as simple as that.

How Do They Work?

Membrane switch design is made up of several layers, including protective layers, a touch sensitive membrane and a small circuit layer. When the touch sensitive membrane at the top is pressed down into the circuit, that is what generates the specific electrical signal of that membrane switch.

Custom Membrane Switches

If you require membrane switches that are made to a certain specification, there are companies available to you that will manufacture the membrane switches to your needs. With rapid prototyping, you can have a scale model of your custom made membrane switch to ensure that it’s what you need, and you can begin production from there.

Uses of Membrane Switches

Other than keyboards and microwaves, membrane switches can be found in countless pieces of technology. Used in touchscreens, air conditioners, TV remotes, inside computers and more. It’s unlikely that you don’t own a piece of technology that uses a membrane switch.

Have you ever designed something that requires a membrane switch? How were you able to handle that situation? Hopefully you won’t have to wonder ‘What is a membrane switch’ any longer. If you have any other thoughts or questions about membrane switches, please share them with us below in the comments section, and have a wonderful day!

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