This might be the most beautiful keyboard ever made

Art and computer peripherals combine to create the Keyboardio Model 01, a sculptural take on keyboards crafted with natural wood and LEDs.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Keyboardio Model 01 with hands
The humble keyboard never looked so good. Keyboardio

We don't usually give much thought to keyboards. They're utilitarian devices that help make our computers function and our commands known. But what if keyboards were also works of art, something gorgeous to look at, a pleasure to view as well as type on? That's the concept behind the Keyboardio Model 01, a unique keyboard pulling in lots of backer money on Kickstarter.

One glance tells you the Model 01 is different. Most of us have seen split keyboards before, but we haven't seen one quite like this. The butterfly-shaped body of the Model 01 is made from hardwood maple, with smooth tree rings flowing behind the keys. It's a hint of nature coming through in an automated world.

Model 01 LED
Programmable LEDs sit under every key. Keyboardio

The keyswitches are mechanical, and the Model 01 creators liken them to the ones found on the original Apple II. Each of the keycaps has been custom sculpted. The keyboard still has a QWERTY layout, though the keys swoop across the board in undulating waves. The product description is very poetic, likening the keyboard to a musical instrument.

The Model 01 doesn't just sit there like a lump--it's dynamic. It can lay flat, split apart, be raised in the middle or sit up on a tripod to fit your personal typing style. People who like a little flair will appreciate the programmable LEDs tucked underneath each key.

The keyboard looks like a functional piece of modern art, which is partly why the project has already pulled in nearly $250,000 in backing, well over its $120,000 funding goal, with 28 days left to go.

Keyboardio makes it plain that the Model 01 won't be an ideal solution for everyone, as there is a learning curve required to adjust to the split keyboard design. "Typically, most typists start to get acclimated to a new key layout like ours within a few hours, but true mastery of a new key layout is an investment that can take a month or two to really start to pay off," Keyboardio notes.

If that doesn't deter you and you're enamored by the unique look and flowing lines of the Model 01, you can pick one up for a pledge price of $299 (about £190, AU$389) for an expected delivery in April 2016. The only problem is you might feel the need to upgrade the rest of your computer gear to match the look of your lovely new keyboard.

Keyboardio Model 01
The Model 01 looks a bit like a butterfly. Keyboardio