Optimus keyboard speaks your language, whatever it is
There's a new keyboard in town, and it's amazing. It's from the Russia-based Art Lebedev Studio and it's called the Optimus. As with any computer product category, manufacturers are constantly trying to find the next big thing that will make peop...
There's a new keyboard in town, and it's amazing. It's from the Russia-based Art Lebedev Studio and it's called the Optimus.
As with any computer product category, manufacturers are constantly trying to find the next big thing that will make people want to buy them and toss out their older model. Take printers, for example. While they keep making them faster and with better quality, sometimes a new model comes out that prints the same but offers a number of gee-whiz features that makes you want to get it anyway. My new printer added a color preview screen, built-in memory card slots and the ability to print without a computer, so I bought it.
That's what's happening with this new keyboard. It doesn't really make you type any better or more comfortably, but it offers features not seen on a keyboard anywhere before, and it is hot. A word of caution before I begin: It's very expensive.
The Optimus keyboard at first glance looks pretty much like an ordinary keyboard in that its shape is the traditional rectangular one with the typical grouping of letter keys in the QWERTY layout, cursor keys, numeric keypad, function keys and a special user-defined key cluster. The Optimus does have a quality look about it; it's a sleek, low-profile unit with what appears to be a metal finish.
But the Optimus' big specialty lies in its keys. Each and every key cap is actually a small color display screen. That means that the included software is able to configure what is being displayed on every key at any given moment. So your keyboard now has the ability to literally change itself to fit whatever application you are running at any given time. For example, if you want the key caps to reflect the style of a font you are using at that moment, you will see the actual font on the keys. Playing a game? Only the keys used in that game will have the corresponding functions showing. Typing in another language? The characters for that language are what will be displayed on every key cap. They can display Cyrillic, ancient Greek, Georgian, Arabic and many more character sets.
Mathematics majors will love this keyboard as the Optimus can display special characters such as math symbols. In fact, the Optimus can display just about anything. For example, you can have it show musical notes, HTML codes, numerals, special symbols. It's only limited by what can actually fit on a keycap.
Not only will the keys show the appropriate letters, but it also will do all of this in a full-color glow; its OLED technology is a luminous and colorful. The keys can even be animated with little moving characters on any key at any time. Art Lebedev says the Optimus keyboard is platform-independent, so it will work on Windows, Macintosh and Linux systems.
The Optimus keyboard is 21 inches in length, 6.8 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick. There are exactly 113 OLED keys that can display over 65 thousand colors. The viewing angle is 160 degrees making it easy to read in virtually any normal keyboard position.
The Optimus connects via a standard USB cable and requires Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. A Macintosh must be running OS X 10.5.1 or higher. All of the Optimus' functions are controlled via the included Optimus Configurator software.
This is not a price tag for the faint of heart: The Optimus sells for $2,147. But if you are looking for something way out of the ordinary for your computer, this is definitely it.