Blame Das Keyboard for bringing the world of clicky-keyed mechanical keyboards to your peaceful office. I fell in love with that oddly satisfying typing feel myself and haven't been able to go back to a regular keyboard since.
I should probably apologize to my co-workers for the noise, but it's about to get worse because the company just launched a Kickstarter for its new cloud-connected mechanical keyboard that has programmable LEDs on every key.
The Das Keyboard 5Q puts even more controls at your fingertips. It's the first input device that also outputs information using RGB LEDs that can be individually programmed in a virtual dashboard.
They keyboard makes an ad-hoc connection to the cloud and pulls data from public APIs on the internet, so it's your job to map the lights to show that information in a visual pattern on the keyboard. You can even track the status of projects over time using the color-coded display, and the buttons will shift hues to keep you updated on any changes. For example, you can program all the keys in the number row to show data as it changes in a bar graph format.
The idea is that once you program it, you'll be able to use the Das Keyboard 5Q not only as an input device, but as a graphical display for notifications, reminders and long-term data tracking too. Over time, the company hopes that the LED notifications will get embedded in your sub-conscious, so you'll eventually view the keyboard in your peripheral vision as your work.
I'm sure all the touch-typists out there are waiting for the details about the key switches themselves, since a mechanical keyboard is only as good as its actuation, right? Most of the brands out there making mechanical keyboards right now use Cherry MX brand switches underneath the keys that gives them that responsive, clicky response, but Das Keyboard is one of the only brands that makes switches in house.
Das worked with a Japanese manufacturer called Omron to develop its own mechanical switch called the Gamma-Zulu. It's rated at 100 million actuations, which means it'll probably work until your fingers fall off, and the switches actually have a softer tactile feel than your typical Cherry MX Blues. Das compares the typing feel to the Cherry MX Brown series, which sound like this.
The Das Keyboard 5Q Kickstarter page went live on Thursday and it's already raised more than half of the funding needed for the project goal, so head over and pledge early to take get the early bird discounts.
Once funding is complete, the retail price for the 5Q will be $249, which works out to roughly £188 in the UK and $335 in Australia.
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