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iKeyTypePro LCD-based multi-language keyboard

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Remember just a few short weeks ago when the Optimus keyboard was all the rage? Bruce Grant had let us know then that while the Optimus was just a concept, his company, iKeyInfinity had a fully working product about to go into production. Naturally, this caught my attention, so I emailed Bruce to find out more.

I had initially questioned Bruce about the name of the keyboard, as he said in his comment that it was to be called the iKeyPro. But MacAlly has a keyboard called iKey (iKeyPro in Japan), which would surely cause a problem down the line. He responded that when they started this project they chose iKeyPro because no one else was using the name at that time. Now that the product is closer to release, they have changed the name to iKeyTypePro, with another product called iKeyGrafPro in the pipeline.

Why all the fuss about a keyboard, you ask? Here's why: Each key has a display to show characters according to the specifically selected keyboard map. When a layout map is changed, the images displayed on each of the keys also change according to the new map layout, thus allowing the user to see all the desired characters/symbols during data input. If you're having trouble visualizing that, have a look at the short Quicktime demo [640x480 Cable/DSL  | 320x240 Dialup] and read more after the jump...

As of today, the iKeyInfinity website is live (mostly) and Bruce tells me they hope to start mass production in the first quarter of 2006. In the coming weeks, we can also expect a few more additions to the website. For instance, Bruce explained, "you might notice the green LCDs in the pictures, but we are expecting to involve a very new technology offering an almost silver background with black characters. After the first year we expect to have full colour with full animation capabilities.  It depends mainly on the support from software companies who would write in the instruction sets to take advantage of our technology."

ikeytypepro keyboard snap

Another interesting tidbit for you... According to Bruce, who is based in Moscow, the iKeyTypePro came before Lebedev's Optimus and a mole mutual friend may have been responsible for (inadvertently?) "leaking" the plans to Lebedev... I've been told that it's very difficult to keep a secret in Russia, no matter how long your patent's been pending for! The way I see it, though - the more amazingly cool keyboards, the merrier. I am definitely keeping a close eye on this one, though.

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