July 16, 2005 Moscow-based design studio Art. Lebedev may be Russia’s largest design house but it didn’t quite expect the reaction it received when it posted its latest creation, the Optimus keyboard. The keyboard uses OLED technology so that every key is a stand-alone display showing exactly what it is controlling at that moment. Accordingly, you can switch from language to language, or program to program and the functionality of the key will be reflected in the image it shows. If the response to the company’s web site posting is any indication, the keyboard is already a runaway hit, with 230,000 page views and an average two emails a minute from people wanting the keyboard. In brief, the keyboard is likely to become available in 2006, will be OS-independent and “will cost less than a good mobile phone.” It will be open source (a software developers kit will be available) and companies can OEM the keyboard. Indeed, there may even be an ergonomic version.
As far as Art. Lebedev goes, the company has offices located two blocks from the Kremlin, and also in France and the Ukraine but was not widely known outside Russia until the day before yesterday – now it’s a name that’ll almost certainly be heard many times in the future – what a wonderful thing the internet is.
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