Is the Optimus keyboard just a myth?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/07/22 11:12 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/07/22/441819.aspx


From my mailbox in response to The so-called Ultimate Keyboard:

I think most of the Western auditory didn't get Optimus concept correctly. It is only a concept, it is not existent physicallly yet. The idea was created and then it was instantly rendered using their numerous 3D resources (they have a plenty of designers, animators, and even the straight artists in the team).

Artemy Lebedev accumulated the powerful team of many famous Russian web-designers/creativity minds. And they have a long history of a "designing" various fanny/joy artefacts (http://www.artlebedev.ru/portfolio/id/). It could end up with the physical things for sell. But they don't have enginnering stuff in the team, and I'm very sceptical they have any engineering plan here, besides the original idea. Will glad to get corrected here.

I would be too. But given the original skeptics I cited and my own doubts, I can only say that this keyboard is seeming less and less likely with each passing day....


# Vorn on 22 Jul 2005 11:37 AM:

I still want one.

Vorn

# Tiago Magalhães on 22 Jul 2005 12:04 PM:

Check out
http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus/answers/

# Michael S. Kaplan on 22 Jul 2005 12:05 PM:

No doubt. But please don't hold your breath waiting, I do not want to lose any readers of this blog to such a thing!

# karl on 22 Jul 2005 12:15 PM:

Have microsoft buy the idea.....or atleast have logitech buy the idea and have microsoft play catch up...

# Michael S. Kaplan on 22 Jul 2005 1:12 PM:

Hi Karl,

This does of course imply that I have a lot more power than I actually do (but it is fun that any suggestion can be turned into a slam!).

I have actually seen prototypes of this sort of thing come out of research, and not just at Microsoft. Several companies have danced around the idea.

The problem is making it cost effective. People who say "I do not care about the price" men if the per unit cost were high they would be fine. But since a high-per-unit cost would not get rid of the units, there would have to be a stratospheric per-unit cost, and no one can afford that!

# Michael S. Kaplan on 22 Jul 2005 1:17 PM:

Tiago --

This link proves very little. There are nearly insurmountable problems here, and no indication that they appreciate that other than the "works everywhere with some default state" note in the FAQ.

When they ship something, it can be evaluated. But I sinerely doubt it will live up to expectations, assuming it ever ships at all....

# Daniel Garlans on 22 Jul 2005 1:27 PM:

Thanks, Michael, for crushing all my hopes and dreams ;)

It would be supremely awesome if they were able to make the keyboard, but I won't hold my breath! In the meantime, i need to get my proverbial and literal hands on a "clicky" keyboard; all these evil membrane keyboards are destroying my will to live/type..

still, a little cellphoneish OLED screen in each key couldn't be that hard, with a well designed little controller chip for each one... the hardest part I would assume would be the data connection to each key, it'd have to be almost inconceivably durable..

# zzz on 26 Jul 2005 7:36 AM:

No wonder re-assigning CTRL etc keys is a bitch with Windows since people on the team there see problems everywhere so they choose to not even try! Look at what kind of impossible seeming projects have been done in the real world when you look such tv shows as modern marvels and extreme engineering etc. It's sad to see you think there's too much cost and difficulties. At first there may be, but so what? This just shows how MS is, playing safe and not taking risks in innovation!

# zzz on 26 Jul 2005 7:47 AM:

Could you tell me why numeric keypad has keys in formation of
789
456
123

and all phones I've seen have

123
456
789

Also it's not that I want to re-assign CTRL but I don't like the way manufacturers choose to swap places of INS,DEL,HOME,END,PGUP/DOWN as the please in different keyboards. I'd like if MS gave me option of swapping those like HOME->INS etc.

Also I want the dynamic keys in all laptops so I can re-assign the keys because every manufacturer has a very screwed up layouts.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 26 Jul 2005 9:56 AM:

Hi zzz,

No offense, but this has nothing to do with playing it safe, it has to do with the people who are claiming they can do the work clearly not owning up to the difficulties in the task (and if anything THEY are the ones who are hiding -- not Microsoft).

The numeric keypad was added to match adding machines, not cell phones -- I assume you might be too young to remember adding machines, but they were crucial for some people.

As for the extended desire to customize keyboards, this is on the list to consider for future versions of MSKLC but it is not of as high as a priority since we are most focused on the LANGUAGE issues, being neither usability engineers nor accessibility experts. And of course we cannot speak for random companies that make laptop keyboards....

referenced by

2008/08/16 Optimus: from science fiction to fiction to frustration to geek porn, in just 24 months

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