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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.

  • 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.
    Reply
  • alvine
    make it water proof too
    Reply
  • niz
    Typical Microsoft: Rip off someone elses idea and market it years late.
    Reply
  • 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.
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  • niz
    dgingeriWell, 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.
    Umm.. wrong. Admittedly they're expnsive so rare, but Art Lebedev has been selling several variants of exactly this (his) design for years.
    Microsoft never come up with ideas themselves. Instead they always do this: Patent some tech behind someone elses already existing product then claim it's Microsofts idea, then they make a lower quality version of the original product and mass market it a few years late.
    Other examples include the Xbox (copy of playstation), windows phone (copy of iPhone), windows pad (copy of iPad), etc etc.
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  • 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
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  • zak_mckraken
    amdfreakwouldn't it be much less expensive to create a touchscreen the size of the keyboard. One could touch the keys over the touchscreen. Problem solved. :-)We're talking about a keyboard with physical keys here, not a touchscreen. Physical feedback is essential and provides less strain on fingers and hands.
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  • kinggremlin
    zak_mckrakenIf they can make it so it can go for $50 or under, they will sell like cupcakes.
    $50? Why don't you just ask them to bundle it for free with Windows like Internet Explorer. It's easy to spend $50 or more on a decent traditional keyboard. It's probably unrealistic to think they could sell something like this under even $100, but if they could keep it somewhere near $100, they will have really achieved something.
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  • trumpeter1994
    I remember seeing the optimus maximus years back in a preview by gameinformer. I haven't heard of it again until now though. If Microsoft pulls this off though then I can see them entering the gaming keyboard market where they'd probably compete with Logitech and Razer among others.
    Reply
  • dgingeri
    zak_mckrakenIf 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 timeWould be nice, but touchscreens that size cost tablet makers about $150-200 already, and $150 is really low quality. I'd say these are likely to be about $300 by the time they reach us.
    Reply