Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Keyboard, To End All Keyboards

I spend most of my daily blogging on sites that talk about new gadgets & technology from all over the world (most of which America wont see for many years). Some of the stuff is pretty damn crazy, but every once in a while i run across something that completely floors me. It's not always about some crazy new technology conceived of in sci-fi novels, but many times by taking existing technologies and making something extremely useful that makes you think "wow, that's brilliant." Well as soon as I hit this web page and saw the first picture I couldn't help but say "Holy Crap" out loud.

oled keyboardThis is a keyboard design from a Russian design company called Art.Lebedev Studio's for an OLED keyboard called "Optimus". OLED's (organic light-emitting diode) are like the anti-LED. OLEDs are going to be seen a lot more now-a-days and you may already have something that uses them, like the screen on your digital camera. They are cheaper to make, can display many colors and don't require backlighting to be seen in the dark. They are black at rest, but when activated give off a bright colored display.

This Russian group had the brilliant idea to put OLED displays under every key on a computer keyboard. This would give you an infinite number of custom keyboard layouts, which could be specifically designed for every program ever made. Examples on the homepage are layouts for Photoshop and Quake as well as an American and Russian alphabet set. Two rows of shortcut keys on the left (pictured above) could be assigned to pretty much anything, while not effecting the overall layouts.

Wouldn't it be great if something like this became a computer standard, and developing a custom keyboard layout was just one of the steps in designing a piece of software. These, it seems are not in production other than the concept model, but i have no doubt that they will be sometime in the future. This idea is just too good not to be made available to the public at some point, though it would still be very espensive by todays OLED prices. Just work on some ergonomics and this could possibly be the perfect computer keyboard. For now, we just have stuff like projection keyboards.

Now if you would please excuse me. I need to go change my underwear.

story via: /.


At July 18, 2005 2:31 PM, Blogger Adam B. said...

Copy & Pasted b/c the guy put it on the wrong post.

"Very cool, I wish this would become a standard. My only concern is heat. I don’t know how much heat those babies give off, and in some cases like laptops where heat escapes through keyboards, these new buttons MIGHT cause a problem. Also maintenance might be a little harder. With today’s keyboards there’s not much that can brake. We all find finger nails, bread crumbs, and other small unidentified objects in our keyboards (if u didn’t they I bet you money there’s some nasty shit hiding in there), but with high tech keyboard like that, burn outs of the little displays might happen and one has to take under consideration the trouble you might have to go through in order to replace one of those keys."

At July 18, 2005 2:34 PM, Blogger Adam B. said...

Yeah, keyboards do take some abuse, although ive never found fingernails under my keys (dude, thats nasty). Following the large scale internet circulation of this story, the company has answered many questions people may have asked about it. Here they are.

Frequently Answered Answers about the Optimus keyboard
It's in initial stage of production
We hope it will be released in 2006
It will cost less than a good mobile phone
It will be real
It will be OS-independent (at least it can
work in some default state with any OS)
It will support any language or layout
Moscow is the capital of Russia
Each key could be programmed to produce any sequence
It will be an open-source keyboard, SDK will be available
Some day it will be split ('ergonomic')
It will most likely use OLED technology (e-paper is sooo slow)
Our studio is located two blocks from the Kremlin
It will feature a key-saver
Keys will use animation when needed
It has numeric keypad because we love it
There's no snow in Moscow during Summer
It will be available worldwide (why not?)
OEM will be possible (why not?)
Contact us for hi-res images, or interview inquires

At August 08, 2005 10:03 PM, Blogger Adam B. said...

Posted by "Carlos Gomez" on the wrong post.

"The real inventor of the Optimus Keyboard concept is Elkin Acevedo with the invention of the Display Keyboard here in the United States. His patent # is 5,818,361. The Display Keyboard is exactly the same as the newer Russian Optimus Keyboard. We don't know when this product will be in the marketplace."


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