Kiwi scientists have developed a rubber computer keyboard that can flex, stretch, and bounce if dropped.

Researchers at University of Auckland's Biomimetics Lab say the stretchable keyboard, made with a thin sheet of rubber, can wrap around any object.

"Imagine a world where you drop something, and it bounces back without any damage," says doctoral candidate Daniel Xu, an author of the paper reported this week in the journal Smart Materials and Structures.

"That's the benefit of these rubber devices that can flex and stretch."


It can also be made into a sensing skin for motion capture, which is useful for athletes, clinicians, and for new interactive gesture controllers.

The researchers often used video games to test the functionality of the keyboard - and as part of a separate project have made a sensing glove to interface with shooting games.

Work is now taking place with a spin-off company, StretchSense, to develop wearable and other technologies designed to sense stretch.