Monday, July 18

Optimus keyboard

Oh. My. Goodness.

I am drooling *ALL OVER* this keyboard. Or, the prototype photos at least. This thing doesn't actually exist yet, but I am very intrigued by the possibilities. Every key has an OLED screen, and the markings thereon can be manipulated globally or even application by application. You really have to look at the pictures on the site to get the full effect.

There is a software application that allows you to customize the keys' function and appearance. As shown in the images on the linked page, you can change the keys to display pictures indicating their purpose (like the various tools in Photoshop, etc.) and even to assign macro functions to a few extra keys that have been added to the traditional layout for the purpose of providing more functionality.

I think the best things that could be added to this design include:
1) an embedded USB flash drive to store the various custom layouts so that the keyboard can be moved from machine to machine without needing to reprogram the customization. The current model is to have a software program installed on the host computer to store the customizations, but I think it would be a great idea to make the device more mobile.
2) I'm not sure if this is already included, but I think it would be an AWESOME feature to manipulate the keyboard based on the mod-keys that are pressed. For instance, to have the keyboard display all lower-case letters but switch to capitals when the key is held down. Also, display the vowels with umlauts (ä, ö, ü, et cetera) after option-u is hit on a Mac keyboard, or the various symbols that are unlocked by the command and option keys.

The only problem with number 1 is that the storage of layouts would have to be accessed differently depending on the OS to which the keyboard is connected. I'm sure the developers could make it work, anyway.

Also, there is an interview with the designer on the Primotech site here.

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.