10 Strange Keyboards

Here are a list of ten of the most unique keyboards on the market, or soon to be on the market.

In no specific order are 10 very unique keyboards that are designed to either make computing easier, the keyboard more comfortable, or to eliminate the usual big sized keyboard.

  1. The Combimouse

    The Combimouse keyboard was created to try to combine the mouse and keyboard. The right keyboard is used for the mouse, with a two keys doubling as a left or right click. The spin wheel is located at the bottom of the left keyboard. This keyboard wasn’t created to help you type faster, rather to universalize the keyboard and mouse. This is the first of many attempts to come at a universal keyboard. At the time you cannot purchase one of these, but they should hit the market in 2008.

  2. The Evolution Keyboard

    This is both separable and connectable. Here it is pictured on a track mount. The two halves can be positioned how you want them, as they can move ninety degrees in any direction. How much would it cost to get your hands on one of these? The model with the track mount can range from $400 to $700.

  3. The Wearable Keyboard

    A keyboard that you plug into the USB port on a computer and can type while it is attached to your arm. This is not exactly made for your general home office, and is more likely to be used at a work site where carrying a keyboard is not very practical. The price varies depending on the quantity. You can receive a quote from Terralogic.

  4. The Optimus Maximus Keyboard

    This is one of the new fully customizable keyboards on the market. Each key is a tiny LCD screen. You can choose what each key is, and will show. If you want to reorganize the letters, you can do that. You can also set keys to perform other things, such as html codes, or special symbols if you like. You can buy one of these online for about $450.

  5. The Virtual Keyboard

    The Virtual Keyboard is a laser keyboard. The unit is the size of a cigarette lighter, and uses Bluetooth technology to connect it with your pc. The keys are all illuminated onto a flat surface. You can simply type from there. Although the lack of feeling to the touch of the “keys” may not be same this is the ultimate space saver, and shows promise of many similar products, be it computer products or not, to come from this technology. You can get your hands on one of these for around $150.

  6. The SafeType

    This keyboard is meant to put the keyboard in as comfortable of a position as possible. You can move the different sections to different angles, as well as take them apart and put them on your lab. However you choose it’s all about putting it in such a way that makes typing more relaxed for you. You can purchase one of these for about $300.

  7. The Tidy Tippist

    Here is a decorative keyboard with the keys disguised into the washable tablecloth. The keyboard and electrical components are sealed inside layers and layers of water resistant felt. It hasn’t been put on the market yet, but you can expect its release in late 2008.

  8. The AlphaGrip Keyboard

    A game controller style keyboard. It plugs into the USB and you can type while sitting back reclined in a chair, running on a treadmill, or lying in bed. It features a ten finger keyboard and mouse all in the shape of a controller. Once you get the hang of this you can successfully type at fifty to seventy words per minute. You can pick one of these up for $100.

  9. The ElekTex Fabric Keyboard

    This is exactly as it sounds. It is a wireless keyboard place inside a piece of fabric. When you are done you can simply roll it up and put it away. If it gets dirty you can put it in the wash. Your best price would be on Amazon for $80 new.

  10. The FingerWorks TouchStream LP

    The TouchStream is both a mouse and keyboard in one. The keyboard splits in half to try to provide extra comfort. The keys are all flat, which can make them feel strange to type on. It retails on the internet for about $350.

Lucy Lockett
07.12.31

Interesting!

Judy Sheldon-Walker
07.12.31

Fascinating. Good presentation. It makes one rethink their old model.

Liane Schmidt
07.12.31

So cool! I want the roll up keyboard. Great article!

Best wishes.

Sincerely,

-Liane Schmidt.

Darlene McFarlane
07.12.31

There are a couple of really interesting ones there. I have always been a gadget person and would like to see them up close and personal. By looking though, I think the good old user friendly keyboard I have always had is good enough for me.

Great article, Jared!

Ruby Hawk
07.12.31

They are interesting and I’m sure work very well but for me I will stick to my old stand by. Well done article.

IcyCucky
07.12.31

I would like to have number 7, just in case I spill the coffee…

Son N
07.12.31

They’re cool :)

Francie
07.12.31

Cool, moving right along with the updates in technology. Great finds, good work!

Shashank
07.12.31

I love stuff like this, very awesome dude!

Dee Huff
07.12.31

My next door neighbour has one of the virtual keyboards, and I’ve tried it. It’s quite amazing. The tablecloth keyboard and the fabric one also appeal to me.

spostareduro
07.12.31

Awesome keyboards

Alexa Gates
07.12.31

wow! Those keyboards are extrememly weird. My favorite would have to be the tidy tippist. I wonder how the virtual one really works though…

Sandman
07.12.31

That’s cool! I going to order some of these.

willard
07.12.31

I want an Optimus Maximus, its abrilliant idea. set it up so the button config & display change depending on the program your using. like replacing ASWD with arrows when playing games or having only relevent buttons light in photoshop.

cherrycher
07.12.31

what’ll they think of next?
cool post.
-cc

hbean
07.12.31

We tried the the FingerWorks TouchStream LP here @ work, oh, maybe a year or two back. Very interesting product. It was hard to get used to but I think if you took the time you could really fly with it. None of us wanted to take the time, though lol.

Keybowl
07.12.31

Not sure if you want to include keyboard that use alternative methods….
Look at the KeyBowl. http://keybowl.com/

xlq
07.12.31

The Optimus Maximus keyboard is pointless – just remap the keyboard in software, and don’t look at the keyboard when you type (which is the best way to learn to type!)

Kyle
07.12.31

..and the Kinesis is fully programmable. I have shift, control and alt at my left thumb.

Flyker
07.12.31

Great…i like all of them,,,,

Ioeth
07.12.31

That Optimus Maximus keyboard uses OLED displays, not LCD ones, under each of the keys.

Alan Pinstein
07.12.31

If these keyboards are available, can you link to them? I’ve been looking for something like the evolution keyboard for YEARS without finding it. But I google’d and can’t find that model anywhere… links would be greatly appreciated!

Peter
07.12.31

How could you have forgotten the Kinesis Countoured? Kinesis Contoured++

Saved my career.

Sean
07.12.31

Just FYI, FingerWorks is no longer an active company having being bought out a couple of years ago. If you look now, the going rate for a TouchStream LP usually nets well over $1000, in fact the last one I saw sell on E-Bay went for $1500. It also featured multi-touch technology before multi-touch was the “new big thing”. In fact, where do you think Apple got their multi-touch technology from?

This was also the best keyboard I have ever used, I wish I still had one.

@hbean: If your company still has those keyboards lying around you might want to look at reselling them.

JohnH
07.12.31

Ditto on the Kinesis. It is an outstanding product that totally removed my wrist pain. I have two; one at the office, one at home.

Chris
07.12.31

I also use the Kinesis, and have for several years. (It also saved my career.)

Maybe its exclusion from the article means that it’s not strange anymore? ;-)

M
07.12.31

No Kinesis keyboard?

cdpage
07.12.31

whats with the poor description of the touch stream?

Multi-touch, gestures, error correction…etc.

iPhone shmiPhone, we wouldn’t have one if it weren’t for this baby.

hpavc
07.12.31

The fingworks devices are awesome

Steve H.S.
07.12.31

Another vote for the Kinesis “Advantage” contoured keyboard. Apart from the comfort, built-in macros, and key-by-key programmability, the QD model comes with Dvorak and Qwerty lettering. (I’m a Dvorak typist, and I’m never going back to that awful Qwerty, but if someone else needs to borrow my computer at work I can simply switch it back, because the keyboard itself contains the remappings, not the operating system.)

djspinrite
07.12.31

What about the BAT keyboard? Check out infogrip.com. They have all sorts of weird stuff.

alex
07.12.31

Standard.

Bob
07.12.31

The Optimus Maximus keyboard uses OLED displays not LCD displays. You don’t even have to do more than type ‘Optimus Maximus’ in to Google to know that. You don’t even need to click on any of the links! Did you do better research on the other products?

Anonymous
07.12.31

Neither the Kinesis Evolution nor the TouchStream LP have been manufactured for over a year. The article authors should have researched this better.

Anonymous
07.12.31

Alas, TouchStream went out of business a while ago and their keyboards are very hard to find. There’s two for sale on eBay right now. One’s been bid up to about $420, the other has a starting price of $0.99. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=290198414201

Alfonso Coley
07.12.31

Great and wonderful information, love the photos. Very original article-like to see more of this stuff-keep on the fast track of technology.

Micheal
07.12.31

Oh so short are the paths to Star Trek keyboards, oh wait… looks like they might just be above… Predator keypads anyone?

Cool concepts, we all could help to drive the price down by ordering a few!

Long live Qwerty…

esmith512
07.12.31

The Terralogic wrist keyboard would be great for a close-use process control keyboard–we used something very similar to it about 25 years ago. In the early 1980s we experimented with wearable computers and keyboards using highly modified battery-pack powered ZX81s as serial terminals. It was very convenient for simple communication and some process controls but obligated single hand finger-typing. We’d put plastic sheets with alternate legends for single-key control functions. It worked very well, but we wound up holding the keyboards and thumb-typing with them for anything more intensive than a few process-control keypresses.

FDDI_Sent
07.12.31

The kineses has been forsaken! I have used this keyboard for TEN years and it still can be mistaken as something “high tech”. I dont know how much it costs now, but when I bought it back in 1997 it was about $400.00.

aw
07.12.31

+1 for Kinesis

Ross
07.12.31

The fabric keyboard should be manufactured into a shirtsleeve or chest item.

daris
07.12.31

Nice keyboards. Me most like keybord 5. I heard that this keyboard is very sensitive for touches

wobblie
07.12.31

the ~$500 optimus maximus only has *ONE* active display key. If you want all keys to be ‘active’ it’s around $1900. The keys are modular though, so you can upgrade a key without a whole new keyboard.

zeebob
07.12.31

I use the AlphaGrip myself, and aside from the initial learning curve, it’s proven itself to be very easy to use and much easier on the hands. And unlike some keyboard alternates, learning to type on an AlphaGrip *won’t* screw up your regular QWERTY muscle memory, so you can quickly switch back to a regular keyboard with no trouble.

sage
07.12.31

I wish, people would stop creating wierd key position setups and start focusing on the key characteristics. A lot of the stuff above is crap if you have to type for 10 hours a day.

As long as every keyboard out there uses either the high-force characteristics of Cherry-Keyboards, or wobbly bad-laptop-keys, only staying with my collection of good old IBM PS/2 keyboards will stay away carpal tunnel syndrom.

mr spaz
07.12.31

No kinesis? No maltron?

pda1111
07.12.31

I’ve had the Fingerworks TouchStream LP for about 4 years and have been using it actively this time as a full time software developer. It is hands down the best keyboard/mouse product I’ve ever come across and I love it! It is still in good shape and used every day :) The way it incorporates the mouse, multitouch and gestures makes it vewwy vewwy powerful – IF you take the time to learn it properly that is….

Luca
07.12.31

Like zeebob, I also use an Alphagrip. Definitely recommended.

Anti Touch Type
07.12.31

I bought a Touchtype after developing tendon problems in my wrist, and it actually hurt my fingers because the keyboard’s flatness means there’s no give when you press your fingers down. For those of you with carpel tunnel or other problems, be careful before you choose to find one!

Duke Nukem
07.12.31

Someone should have entered DELLS stupid little keyboard in this running.

bobmc
07.12.31

Das Keyboard, all black, no letters, excellent mechanical cherry keys

name
07.12.31

You did not include one ot the most famoust keyboards – Maltron.

Boomer
07.12.31

*drool* alpha grip *drool*

Hans
07.12.31

Reminds me of the ‘right hander’ keyboard in Popular Electronics? in the 70s. The objective was to create a basic ASCII keyboard that would work using one hand only. Wonder if the plans are still available??

Bear
07.12.31

Used the virtual. Like banging away on an old Olivetti – Gotta be over 40 to know what I’m talking about!

Toro Gringo
07.12.31

Bear, An ol’ Olivetti?? How about the military ‘MIL’, from the 1940’s 1950’s, by Royal and Underwood. Capital letters, only.
My, how time has pasted.

Perry Hutchison
07.12.31

WRT “The Wearable Keyboard”, Yikes! I can just picture some BLITHERING IDIOT trying to word-process or web-surf while driving.

R.B. Parsley
07.12.31

Jared,
Great article! I especially liked The virtual one and the fabric one. I love this kind of stuff.

Koyin
07.12.31

Good article

D. Nesbit
07.12.31

Very cool, there are some good USB sticks available as well on other sites :)

M.C. Johnson
07.12.31

Cool!

K Frost
07.12.31

I love the fabric keyboard. I’ve lost more than a few to cat-spilled drinks. LOL

Atikin
07.12.31

Beautiful! I’ve seen the virtual laser one before but I love the fabric and the LCD one. Think it’s so fantastic the way things work out to be! Hats off to whoever even designed, (or for that matter) thought of designing those!

Applefox
07.12.31

I like them all

Mr. Javo
07.12.31

awesome keyboards! specially the virtual keyboard….The most of those strange keyboards are designed for gamers

Bull3t
07.12.31

Some awsome keyboards, but some images would be nice ;) .

SaTiSh MeDoS
07.12.31

Thats a great post and would love to have a virtual keyboard :)

adam
07.12.31

i love them keyboards i got the laser one its awesome

PyromanDan
07.12.31

those are pretty cool, and im using the virtual one right now,lol

*im such a nerd*

CHAN LEE PENG
07.12.31

Interesting article, thanks Jared!

Deez
07.12.31

DAS KEYBOARD!!! YOU FORGOT DAS KEYBOARD

Gabe
07.12.31

Thosekeyboards are wack :D

Ryan Bodley
07.12.31

The fabric and Opticus Maximus keyboard sounds pretty cool…
My dad bought me a roll-up keyboard (made of flexible rubber), and the keys bend around pretty easily, so it makes it difficult to type. You have to almost hit it in the exact middle of the key for it to work, but it has a lot of extra keys that help a little.

ms.sıla
07.12.31

hello ! I am turkish.I like pc. good bye

Alfred
07.12.31

Nice article bro… Keep up the good work!

Matt Gresham
07.12.31

Great article!

Personally, I love the Virtual and the Wearable Keyboard :D

Justine
07.12.31

wOws diZ iz sO WonDerfuL i think diz iz a goOd site wheN i or my FriendS waNt tO kNOw mOre aBout new aNd latEs tEchNology right.. tHanks By the waY..

07.12.31

http://freemicrosoftpoints.com for more information and free keyboards

07.12.31

u guys are gay and really suck

DSD
07.12.31

OMG

THAT IS SO CRAZY

07.12.31

Fascinating. Good presentation.i had never seen like that…nice work…keep it on……

This is great! Thanks for the amazing post!

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