While the vogue for Kickstarter hardware projects seems to be ebbing, there are still some fascinating ideas popping up on the platform. One brought to my attention recently is the Designer Keyboard, which uses a split and tilted design for improved ergonomics. It also provides space for pointing devices to be placed centrally, such as a 3D mouse or trackpad.
While we have seen iterations on this theme before – most notably, the Ergodox – the Designer Keyboard takes things in a slightly different direction. The keyboard includes an integrated wrist and palm rest, designed to keep your wrists in a more ergonomic position. It also includes two quartets of keys tilted towards the centre of the two-board setup, presumably where the modifiers and other special keys will be positioned. This is a smaller assortment than is offered on the Ergodox, with no provision for double-width or double-height keys. Bluetooth 5.0 is also used, which seems to have eliminated the need for an ugly cable to join the two sections of the keyboard together.
Another big change is the use of a concave well for each half of the board, something that was popularised (in keyboard circles, anyway) by the Maltron decades ago. The idea is to match the height of the keys with the length of the finger pressing them, with the central keys set deeper. These keyboards are popular with enthusiasts, but at £400 are simply too expensive for the average user to consider. Unfortunately, the Designer Keyboard is also expensive, with the keyboard costing around £300 on Kickstarter for a unit with Red, Black, Brown or Blue Cherry MX RGB switches.
With only three days to go on the Designer Keyboard crowd-funding project and £19,000 to raise, it seems unlikely that the Kickstarter will be successful. However, we hope that the Hong Kong team behind the Designer Keyboard will continue pursuing this idea, as a greater variety of ergonomic mechanical keyboards on the market can only be a good thing.