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Minebea readies COOL LEAF keyboard for launch

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April 27, 2011

Minebea has announced that the COOL LEAF shiny, flat, touch panel keyboard is set for a Ma...

Minebea has announced that the COOL LEAF shiny, flat, touch panel keyboard is set for a May release in Japan

Japan's Minebea has announced that the utterly gorgeous concept COOL LEAF touch panel keyboard designed by Dr. Kazuo Kawasaki is to be released next month. Initially available to Japanese Windows users only, the company says that a Mac version is on the way. Other language layouts are scheduled for release later in the year.

Minebea says that the black framed, mirror-like flat touch panel surface of the COOL LEAF USB keyboard is expected to head for "dimly-lit home theater environments, medical treatment sites and food plants where cleanliness is important and clean rooms where dust resistance is required."

The keys are displayed on the input peripheral's shiny touch panel thanks to light guide plate-type backlights, and keying measured by combined electrostatic capacity and load sensor using a new film technology developed by Toray Industries.

Although no price has been specified in the company release, Akihabara News estimates that it will cost around JPY 26,000 (US$316).

The 108-key Japanese language version of the stunning 15 x 5 x 0.67-inch (383 x 128 x 17 mm) keyboard will hit retail outlets throughout Japan from May 13.

Personally I had hoped that users might be able to configure the keyboard layout, but the scheduled release of English, German, French, and Italian layout versions in July suggests that this won't be possible.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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6 Comments

Yeah - looks cool - but let's remember that touch typists are exactly that? You need to FEEL the location of the keys relative to each other??

Troy Swindells-Grose
27th April, 2011 @ 08:55 pm PDT

What would be even better is a cheap hack for a tablet to allow it to become a bluetooth keyboard for another computer. Given the price tag on this thing, it would make more economic sense just to buy a tablet.

Charles Bosse
28th April, 2011 @ 11:39 am PDT

That seems like a step in the WRONG direction! Or simply cashing in on the current "touch" craze!

Electronic Enes
29th April, 2011 @ 06:13 am PDT

good job!

Segun Akinseloyin
2nd May, 2011 @ 09:34 am PDT

Agreed, it needs to be configurable by the user, and I always envisioned a touch screen keypad as being able change to the users task at hand; drawing pad, note pad, put a cam in it and make it skyp interface that can be carried into another room, a game board, display video streamed from computer, ect...

John Carman
3rd May, 2011 @ 08:03 am PDT

Microsoft already has a configurable solution currently called the Adaptive Keyboard. It is composed of keys that contain optics that project their small portion of an underlying LCD to the surface of the keys. There is also a 2-inch touch pad/strip that runs the length of the keyboard above the top row of keys. What would've been even better in the design is if the LCD panel extended beyond the right side of the keyboard by about 3 to 4 inches. That would allow various smart phone OS's to be emulated on that portion of the keyboard. It would be an especially great celling point for WP7... "Now the numeric keypad area of your keyboard can function identically to your phone while accessing all of the media and data of your computer and wirelessly, your smart phone."

Search for "Microsoft Adaptive Keyboard" on YouTube.

P.S.: It is NOT the same technology as the Optimus Maximus keyboard.

kalqlate
3rd May, 2011 @ 09:43 pm PDT
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