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 Post subject: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:10 am 
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Recently I read about these extremely fancy (and expensive) devices:

http://www.artlebedev.com/optimus/maximus/
http://www.artlebedev.com/optimus/popularis/

The former is sold out, while the latter goes for 1500$. Definitely not a price I would pay for a keyboard, but I very much like the idea. If they were cheaper, very long-lasting and also comfortable to use, I'd probably go for one. One reason is that I use to write in English, Russian, Estonian, German / LaTeX, C++, and so adapting the layout to them would be nice (having Ä, Ö, Ü, Õ is nice for Estonian, while for C++ or LaTeX in English I don't need them and rather put {[]} there, not to mention Russian at all). It would be even better if one could have the keys change color while using, e.g., VIM, so that they reflect whatever keys do in any given VIM mode (such as make Ctrl+W highlight keys useful for managing windows in different color depending on their action - moving between windows in one color, closing in a different one, stuff that opens a new window in yet another...). And of course, programming a driver for such a keyboard for a custom OS seems fun.

Also I found this one:

http://www.sonderdesign.com/keyboard/

Not quite what I like, as I prefer USB / wired keyboards over wireless ones, and I don't like the mac design very much. E-ink certainly is a great technology for this purpose, as it needs basically no power unless you change the layout, but also limits the display of this one to black and white.

This one has only 10 such keys plus LCD touch screen:

http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-keyboar ... r-ultimate
http://www.razerzone.com/switchblade-ui

And there is also this company selling keys with backlit LCD:

http://www.e3-keys.com/

The power consumption for the backlight seems to be crazy, though.

Has anyone seen something similar and maybe more affordable? Would you use something like this?

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:22 am 
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IIRC Apple goes for the other route of putting a touch screen on keyboard, something like a dynamic clickable taskbar to replace F keys. But then I like the idea that you can reprogram buttons.

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:20 am 
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Yeah, it would be nice to have that kind of keyboard. I do most of my typing in English and Russian and occasionally in Spanish and Portuguese. Since nobody at Microsoft has so far cared about the users who need to type in more than 2 languages, switching between 3 and more languages in Windows is a bit problematic (you have to have an individual key combination to switch to a layout (wastes combinations) or cycle through layouts that you don't intend to use or grab the mouse...). I ended up modifying the "United States-International" layout, so it doesn't get in the way of typing source code (removed the "dead keys" or whatever was there around [{]};:'", kept ^ as a dead key for ^ãõ, ditto for ` and `àèìòù and ~ for ~ãõ (I use ^`~ in my code rarely), moved/added a few other mappings). And now I use that for most things and just one more layout for Russian. As for what's on the keys, it doesn't take too long to learn the layout without looking at the keyboard. On my 1st US keyboard 15+ years ago I drew the Russian layout with a pencil (on the key sides, not on the tops). It lasted for several weeks. I refreshed it maybe once or twice after that and that was it. I can probably even use a blank keyboard now (e.g. Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate). :)


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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:30 am 
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I also changed a few layouts. With a German keyboard. I added š, ž, õ for Estonian, and on an Estonian keyboard I added ß for German and °.

Also like a "touch keyboard": http://www.artlebedev.com/optimus/tactus/

Oh, and there are these "laser projected" keyboards which you project on some surface... I wonder how programmable they are.

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:26 am 
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Well here's a little app for someone wanting something to do.

The app is for a tablet and allows the whole screen to be used as a touch screen keyboard with extra keys at the top so that the main display can be switched to different keyboard layouts. The app does nothing except post a keystoke out through the usb to your waiting computer. As lots of people have a tablet and a computer, but only occasionally need to use them together this looks quite economical to me!


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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:59 am 
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XenOS wrote:
Oh, and there are these "laser projected" keyboards which you project on some surface... I wonder how programmable they are.


I bet that would be horrendous to type on.

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:29 am 
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The "tablet keyboard" is of course a rather simple way to make such a flexible keyboard in terms of software. But it wouldn't be an option for me ;) I prefer mechanical keyboards because I like to "feel" when I press a key. For the same reason I agree that typing on a laser projected one would be terrible. Also, I like wide keyboards with separate numpad, maybe even macro keys as well. Yes, they take a lot of space, but I have the space, and I'd like to use it for lots of keys which are large enough for my clumsy fingers ;)

Just for the fun of it, I played around a bit and made up a design study - see the attachment. It has standard keys, function keys, numpad and 16 macro keys (6 on the left, 6 on the right and 4 above the numpad). (Depending on your keyboard layout, you'll probably see some of your keys are wider / one wide key instead of two small ones - I made them separate, because it depends on the layout which ones are connected.) Of course, each key is supposed to have its own display :D Note that I haven't left space for keyboard LEDs, but this is intentional. Why would you need them, if you can just light up the caps, numlock and scrlock keys themselves? ;) And of course, change the icons on all affected keys (letters, numbers, numpad...) as well. The latter could also happen if you just hold Shift or AltGr pressed, so that the letters would normally be small caps, unless you hold Shift pressed. Yeah, I know, might not be extremely realistic to get something like this done, but at least dreaming should be allowed...


Attachments:
File comment: Keyboard design draft
Keyboard.png
Keyboard.png [ 8.66 KiB | Viewed 1333 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:15 am 
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MichaelFarthing wrote:
The app is for a tablet and allows the whole screen to be used as a touch screen keyboard with extra keys at the top so that the main display can be switched to different keyboard layouts. The app does nothing except post a keystoke out through the usb to your waiting computer. As lots of people have a tablet and a computer, but only occasionally need to use them together this looks quite economical to me!
Interesting idea, but your target userbase isn't as big as you're hoping it will be: sending standard USB keyboard events to a computer will require a rooted device, and requiring the user to install additional software on their computer is problematic for some users, offputting to many others, and inconvenient to the rest. Still, a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:32 pm 
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1500$

Average Serbian pay is 300$ (and including 40% unemployement rate)... How could you imagine something like this?
Anyways I think it does not worth that much money through.

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:12 pm 
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Lukand wrote:
Average Serbian pay is 300$ (and including 40% unemployement rate)... How could you imagine something like this?

By not living in Serbia. :|

Average pay in Serbia is $300 per month? My rent is $1300 per month...


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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:17 am 
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The designers of this keyboard are from Moscow, and I would guess that the average income in Russia is similar to the one in Serbia (correct me if I'm wrong); and in Moscow the rents are also quite high compared to other parts of Russia and compared to the income. So it's definitely not a keyboard designed for the average customer, and probably more for exporting it.

But independent of income, I still wouldn't want to pay that much for a keyboard, because I don't think the additional benefit would be worth it. Maybe 100-200€ for a high-quality, long-lasting (> 10 years) keyboard would be an investment I would take, if I really saw some benefit. But otherwise I prefer cheap solutions. Recently I was at a supermarket and they had two keyboards there in the "random discount stuff" section, a standard one for 2.19€ and one with multimedia keys for 5.49€. I took both, without taking a closer look, and it turned out that both have EN/RU bilingual layout. This is of course great when writing in English or Russian, because you have both alphabets and you can just switch easily. But it's less practical for Estonian or German, because the EN/RU keyboards have fewer keys, and so you have to decide what to do with Ä, Ö, Ü, Õ and ß (while Š and Ž are usually AltGr+S and AltGr+Z anyway on Estonian layout). That's why I came up with this idea to get a dynamical one (if it would be affordable).

For the virtual keyboard using a tablet, maybe it does not have to send standard keyboard commands via USB. If you want it to change dynamically, corresponding to the layout you have chosen on your computer, and maybe even change color to match, e.g., function keys on the application you use, you need a special driver on the computer anyway that tells the keyboard what to display. That driver could also simulate a normal keyboard on the computer, and communicate with the tablet app in any way you could think of (could be USB, bluetooth, wifi...).

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:55 am 
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XenOS wrote:
But independent of income, I still wouldn't want to pay that much for a keyboard, because I don't think the additional benefit would be worth it. Maybe 100-200€ for a high-quality, long-lasting (> 10 years) keyboard would be an investment I would take, if I really saw some benefit. But otherwise I prefer cheap solutions.


How many hours a day do you spend using the computer?
imo it's worth spending a little extra if you're using it for 12 hours a day

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:02 am 
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Indeed, I'm using the computer many hours per day, and I use it mostly by keyboard and touch the mouse only when it's necessary, so a good keyboard is really important for me. The question is: does an expensive keyboard really give me some benefit? Right now I'm using a Logitech K120 with Estonian layout, which I got for 20€. It gives me a good response to key presses, and allows for fast typing. The main improvement I could imagine would be easily switching the layout to something where {[]} are separate keys for programming or writing LaTeX in English, and maybe a Russian layout (right now I'm using a phonetic one, which can sometimes be confusing, for example, not to press C, but S to get a Cyrillic С). There are gaming keyboards for 200€ and more, but I don't see much benefit in buying those (I don't need ultra-fast response like gamers do).

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 1:24 pm 
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My keyboard (790 RSD = about 6$) :
http://gigatronshop.com/tastature/aneex ... ack_-21181 (Latin Serbian Store)
XenOS, do you know for what is Latex most used :lol: ? (Try searching "Latex" in google)
If they would divide that dynamic whatever stuff with 150 it may be useful.

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 Post subject: Re: Dynamically changeable keyboards
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:07 pm 
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Well, I use LaTeX for writing scientific works (lecture notes, research articles, presentation slides) - any other use is not important for me ;)

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