I Am Optimus Maximus!
While this bit of hardware has been in development for a while now, and acknowledgement of its existence isn’t exactly news, I do believe this is the first time we’ve seen this thing fully in action – thanks in no part to CES 2008, I’m sure.
The Optimus Maximus Keyboard (demonstrated in the video above) is a unique and cutting edge peripheral designed by famous Russian design company Art. Lebedev. So what makes this keyboard so special? For starters, each of the 100+ keys are self-backlit OLED displays (48×48 pixels), much like what you see in a typical cell phone today. What does all this techno-mumbo-jumbo mean? Well, supplemented with special software and hardware programmability, this keyboard will effectively allow its user to customize it into a keyboard like no other. The keyboard itself effectively comes to life by its use of these tiny OLED displays. Heck, you can even have video looping across the thing.
For the hardcore gamer, this keyboard would seem like the ultimate cool tech device to have right now. For you WoW gamers, imagine customizing each key with icons to match a corresponding macro? Or for your FPS genre fans, how cool would it be if your keys put on a bloody showcase each time you were fragged by an opponent? Sounds crazy, I know.
Unfortunately, as with most bleeding edge tech, the Optimus Maximum keyboard does come with a heavy price tag. According to Artemy Lebedev himself, this high end tech gadget can be had for slightly less than $500. While this cost seems extreme for an input device that thinks it’s an output device, the Optimus keyboard was previously slated with a $1000+ price tag. Obviously, Art. Lebedev has since then either found proper investors and/or found a way to cheapen the manufacturing costs.
As crazy as it might sound, I really want to buy one of these. The problem is (and if you didn’t pick up on Mr. Lebedev’s comment at the end of the video) that the demand is most likely greater than the supply right now. Not only that, but the device is obviously highly dependent on its software – which is apparently still in beta form.