Ultimate Hacking Keyboard splits in two and offers power-user functionality
By Stu Robarts
July 4, 2014
For all the input methods available, the humble keyboard remains central to most computer usage. Over time different designs have tried to perfect the mechanics, improve comfort and even project the keys. The new Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK) targets configurability, ergonomics and build quality.
The UHK is aimed at being more comfortable for the user and allow them to be more efficient in their typing. The keyboard splits into two halves that are connected by a cable. This supposedly allows the user to find a more natural typing posture by positioning and angling the two sections of the keyboard as best suits them. Steel guides and magnets are used to connect the two sections together, at which point the joining cable can be removed if the user so wishes.
Ultimate Gadget Laboratories says it has designed the UHK with accepted typing conventions in mind. Many modern keyboards, it points out, arrange their keys in blocks or groups, forcing the user to move their hands around the keypad in order to use certain functions. Typing convention dictates that the user's fingers should rest above given keys on the "home row" (the row of letters A through L on a QWERTY keyboard). The UHK is said to be designed to ensure that all of its functions and program layers are easily within reach and able to be activated from this position.
In addition to providing easy accessibility to the full keypad, the UHK provides a mouse function. Users are able to press and hold a "mouse" key on the left side of the keyboard and control the cursor using the I, J, K and L keys. Other mouse functions, such as left click, right click, wheel up and wheel down, are also catered for amongst the surrounding keys.
The mouse layer or functionality provided by the UHK is one of a number of layers available. Pressing and holding different keys allows the user to access the different layers. A function layer provides control for different application functions, such as adjusting volume and skipping between music tracks, while a mod layer provides accessibility to other regularly used navigation and function commands.
The mod layer of the keyboard can also be used to create custom shortcuts and, indeed, the user can reconfigure the UHK as they see fit. It's possible to remap the entire keypad to other recognized layout such as Dvorak or to customize it entirely as required.
Elsewhere, the UHK features programmable macro functionality, N-Key Rollover functionality (meaning that any number of keys pressed at the same time will still be registered) and automatic keymap triggering based on active applications. Ultimate Gadget Labs says it plans to open source the firmware, the electronics design files and keyboard customizer function.
In addition to sturdy joining components for the two keyboard sections, the company says that the UHK is built with "high-end mechanical key switches" that will last for 50 million keystrokes. The parts are replaceable should the need arise and Ultimate Gadget Labs says that the keyboard is designed with repair in mind, providing detailed repair instructions for users.
The UHK will shortly be coming to Kickstarter as a means of raising money for its production. The firm says it will need in the region of 1,000 backers in order for the fundraising campaign to be successful.
The video below provides an introduction to the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard.
Source: Ultimate Gadget Laboratories
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