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Print 25 comment(s) - last by Mr Perfect.. on May 20 at 8:05 PM

Optimus keyboards approach vaporware status

Although the Optimus OLED keyboard and Optimus mini three are interesting keyboard concepts, both products keep getting delayed.  The Optimus keyboard has a "Don't expect until late 2006" status on the Art Lebedev Studio web site.  The mini three keyboard that was supposed to be released on May 15 will not be shipped until at least August 15, 2006.  The mini three costs $121 and will feature a 6-bit, 96x96 pixel OLED display on each key, which is capable of displaying 5 frames per second.

The price and ship date of the full-size Optimus OLED keyboard is unknown.  The studio had previously announced a full 104 key OLED keyboard back in January, but has since made several promises and defaulted on the actual ship date.  The studio later announced that a keyboard would be available in Feburary 1st, 2006, but when February 1st finally rolled around, the studio instead announced the three-key mini-keyboard that was once again delayed today. 


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RE: What a shame
By littlebitstrouds on 5/19/2006 2:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's an awsome idea for people who use their computers as personal editors and personal computers. I switch out an editing keyboard with a regular keyboard. Which is a pain. Being able to just change what the keys say is a great idea.

Not to mention in gaming this would be fun to have what each key does for that game displayed, and the ability to change the keyboard for every game instantly when the game starts.


RE: What a shame
By melgross on 5/19/2006 3:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming that this is going to be a "real" product, I can see why there have been delays. This is a VERY complex product. It isn't just a keyboard with programmable keys. There must be a cpu, or something that can allow the programming of each key, and keep that in memory. Also, if the keys can each respond to input with animations, it must have communications, and other graphics hardware and software as well.

Very complicated. Likely, it is far more complicated then they thought it would be when they first floated the idea.


RE: What a shame
By Serlant on 5/19/2006 8:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
but surely you could just have the keyboard report back just a key code which could be converted at software level to a corresponding key code for the app currently running at the software level with no need for any complex hardware on the keyboard ....accept well the keys :P

(and btw...no i dont really know what im talking about its a stab in the dark)


RE: What a shame
By Tiak on 5/20/2006 6:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it sounds logical and like it could work... But the problem with that is have 104 keys request the individual status, and possibly receive 104 new images, 5 times a second would actually noticably bog down the PC.... Chances are it'll only get every image for every key you ever use it for once, and change them with a code system like you described.

This would mean it'd have to have at very least some form of memory, and would involve some degree of a CPU to figure out what key needs to be what at what time... Not to mention sending the actual data for every pixel on every key... Which might be a bit hard to do mechanicly.


RE: What a shame
By Boushh on 5/19/2006 8:50:50 PM , Rating: 2
From what I can tell, it indeed is going to be a complex product. Just imagine 104 key's, each with their own little 32x32 OLED screen. It looks totaly impractial to have every key have it's on GPU and memory. So I think the best option would be to see the complete keybord layout as one single screen. My keybord is 21 keys width and has a height of 6 key's (not counting the fact that some key's are bigger than the run of the mill letter and number key's), that means it's a 672 x 192 pixels screen. Depending on the depth, you need quite a bit of memory (not even counting for the possibility to store key maps). And you need the GPU power to display it and change seperate parts of the screen (to do animations). Their would also be the logic to make the 104 seperate OLED screens react as one big screen.

When you add it all up, you will get problems with the power. I doubt it will run of your standard USB power.

So, it's complex, expensive and probaly power hungry. But it is soooo damn coool :-)


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