Alienware Builds a 16-foot-long Mechanical Keyboard, Uses It to Play DOTA 2

The world's large 14:1 AW420K mechanical keyboard
(Image credit: Alienware via Youtube)

Alienware recently crafted a monstrous 16-foot-long fully-functional mechanical keyboard and mouse, and to demonstrate its functionality, they even had a professional eSports team play a few competitive DOTA 2 matches with the behemoth, with all five members required to operate the setup.

The keyboard and mouse are based on the Alienware AW420K mechanical keyboard and AW720M gaming mouse, and the company constructed the project by scanning the peripherals and upscaling them to a 14:1 scale, with each key being one foot long with an actuation travel distance of 4 inches. Naturally, some parts had to be hand-built.


(Image credit: Youtube)

The Method Behind the Madness

The AW420K is a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard that uses Cherry MX switches. With this 14x monstrosity, the team had to make their own custom linear-like mechanical actuation using PVC pipe shafts for each switch. The PVC pipe interfaces with a normal-sized mechanical switch connected to the keyboard, and the shaft uses an internal rubber band mechanism to create the mechanical keyboard-like actuation. They also used copper pipes for stabilizers, including the space bar. It is unknown if Alienware used the r/MK's preferred Krytox 205g0 lubricant.

Each switch creates the tell-tale mechanical key click sound via a piece of metal measuring tape that's mounted at the bottom of the shaft. 

All 84 switches are 3D printed, and the space bar weighs almost 20 pounds and took three days to print. That's a lot of filament! The Alienware AW720M mouse is also functional, including the click switches and a scroll wheel.

Suffice it to say this keyboard and mouse requires multiple people to operate. Alienware roped in its Team Liquid's DOTA 2 team, ranked #3 in the world, and the five members worked together to operate the keyboard and mouse while playing a match. 

The training was tricky. Since the mouse needs at least two people to move and actuate the keys, the team of five was divided into two groups. They first tried to practice with non-gaming applications like trying to draw in MS Paint and a typing test. The team first managed to get a score of six words per minute with 94% accuracy on the first try and later 14 WPM with 88% accuracy. Team Liquid later played a match in DOTA 2 with bots. After several attempts, the team was able to achieve a win.

As with most of these sorts of efforts, the massive keyboard and mouse aren't meant to be practical, but Alienware did score a few marketing points with the endeavor — the YouTube video currently has 150,000 views. 

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh
Contributing Writer

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh has been in the Indian PC hardware community since the early 2000s and has been building PCs, contributing to many Indian tech forums, & blogs. He operated Hardware BBQ for 11 years and wrote news for eTeknix & TweakTown before joining Tom's Hardware team. Besides tech, he is interested in fighting games, movies, anime, and mechanical watches.

  • HideOut
    Slow tech news day...
  • Lucky_SLS
    No world records?
  • Sippincider
    Was going to post that Apple's $1 billion M3 chip investment is borderline reckless, i.e. doing something just because you can.

    Then this came along.
  • Sleepy_Hollowed
    This might just be the most insane thing. How were they allowed to do this?

    No offense to them, since their stuff is OK (except keyboards for desktops), but this money could've been better put to work on actually making good mechanical keyboards for their desktops.

    Hell, throw them better health care in USA!
  • noxville
    Might be a bit pedantic, but 3rd best Dota team by what metric? There are various rankings for teams but given that The International (World Cup of Dota) has just ended and Liquid came 5th/6th that seems the most reasonable placement.
  • 8086
    This news reminds me of the Tom Hanks movie.