Burroughs Opto-Electric

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Burroughs opto-electric with torsion spring
Manufacturer Burroughs
Inventor Craig C. Madsen
Daniel B. Stewart
James Andree
Switch type Parabolic
Sense method Optoelectronic
Rated lifetime Unknown
Peak force 35 g, 60 g, 130 g
Patents US4301345 (1980)
US4479111 (1982)


Developed by Burroughs in the early 1980s as a "low profile", "tactile" and consistent switch using an optoelectronic switching mechanism (note that it's not tactile in the modern sense). Besides being a rare optoelectronic switch, this switch uses a horizontally disposed biasing spring which gives a very unique feel to the key actuation.

Only one keyboard is known to have been built with these switches for the Burroughs by Kokusai Electric: the BET-KB.


Very smooth slider, and very consistent spring. Since the optoelectronic is contact-less, it plays no part in the keyfeel. The horizontally disposed biasing spring provides a very unique key feel, as the force to actuate actually decreases past a certain point in the key press.


All known keycaps are dye sublimated. Except for those with replaceable key-legends, which are pad printed.


Only one keyboard is known to have been made with these switches: the BET-KB