Microsoft May Be Preparing LED Screen Keyboard

While it is a standout, it is ridiculously expensive. Art Lebedev wants $2068 for the Optimus Maximus.

However, there was a patent filed by Microsoft that could have a similar functionality for considerably less money: The company's "interactive keyboard with a viewable display" was submitted as a patent in September of 2010 and published by the USPTO on March 22, 2012. A second supporting patent extends the patent with the option of "multiple different key arrangements".

The differentiator to the Optimus Maximus is the fact that the keyboard uses only one display that is integrated below "at least partially see-through mechanically depressible keys". The problem of this approach may be a limited viewing angle toward the keys as the display is located below physical keys and it may be challenging to achieve a high usability factor in such a device.

If Microsoft can, in fact, build such a device and offer it for a reasonable price, such a keyboard may be the most significant evolution of keyboards in decades and tide us over to a time when haptic touch screen keyboards overcome their latency problems and turn into useful keyboard replacements.

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  • dgingeri
    nizTypical Microsoft: Rip off someone elses idea and market it years late.

    Well, nobody else was making it a reality. it stayed a concept only kind of thing until this filing. Look at so many other things from scifi that stayed concept only for years. Somebody has to make it happen. I'm fine with it being Microsoft. They seem to have the resources to do it right.
  • alvine
    make it water proof too
  • zak_mckraken
    If they can make it so it can go for $50 or under, they will sell like cupcakes. They would have many advantages over regular keyboards in businesses and governement :
    - true multilingual keyboard through layout settings
    - dynamic keys that displays the upcoming output (caps, shift, alt)
    - keys that doesn't wear off over time
  • Other Comments
  • dgingeri
    I like this idea: interface touch screen input device with context sensitive controls. it turns into whatever you need depending on what is selected. This was actually the concept behind the LCARS interface in Star Trek The Next Generation. (Yes, I'm a big fan of LCARS. I want it on my phone, on my computer, and in my car.) Something like this could easily be integrated into Windows 8, which has much the same interface.
  • alvine
    make it water proof too
  • niz
    Typical Microsoft: Rip off someone elses idea and market it years late.