As someone who spends a lot of time in front of a keyboard, I dream about owning the perfect keyboard. Alas, despite going through dozens of different products, the perfect keyboard is just as elusive as it ever was.
The problem with keyboards is that they've not changed much during the decades that we've been using them. Yes, they've become somewhat more responsive, require less pressure and finger travel to activate, and many are absolutely in love with the whole backlit design. But, apart from that they keyboard of today is not that dissimilar to a keyboard from the 70s.
Well, I have seen the future, and it looks good.
Say hello to the E-inkey keyboard.
On the face of it the keyboard looks a lot like an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, but each of the keys has an e-paper element, which means that the keyboard can take on different layouts or configurations.
They keyboard can even be customized for keyboard shortcut-intensive applications such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office. This would be a huge productivity booster for those who find themselves tied to the keyboard.
There have been other keyboards that make use of this design in the past—probably the most popular was the Optimus Maximus by Art Lebdev Studio, which used expensive OLED technology for the keys—but none of these ever made it into the mainstream market. The e-ink technology utilized in the E-inkey design would dramatically reduce the cost of the hardware.
The only problem with the E-inkey keyboard is that it is currently only a concept, and exists only in the mind of the designers, Maxim Mezentsev and Aleksander Suhih.
Of the myriad hardware ideas I see floated every day, this is one that I would like see transformed into reality.