Computers

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard splits in two and offers power-user functionality

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard spli...
The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard aims to provide users with comfort, productivity and durability
The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard aims to provide users with comfort, productivity and durability
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The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard aims to provide users with comfort, productivity and durability
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The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard aims to provide users with comfort, productivity and durability
The keyboard splits into two halves joined by a cable so that the user can angle and position them to preference
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The keyboard splits into two halves joined by a cable so that the user can angle and position them to preference
The keyboard can be used in a traditional one-piece format, at which point the joining cable can be removed
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The keyboard can be used in a traditional one-piece format, at which point the joining cable can be removed
Magnets and steel guides are used to slot the two pieces of the keyboard together
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Magnets and steel guides are used to slot the two pieces of the keyboard together
The key switches are said to last for 50 million keystrokes, but are replaceable as needs arise
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The key switches are said to last for 50 million keystrokes, but are replaceable as needs arise

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.

The keyboard can be used in a traditional one-piece format, at which point the joining cable can be removed
The keyboard can be used in a traditional one-piece format, at which point the joining cable can be removed

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.

Magnets and steel guides are used to slot the two pieces of the keyboard together
Magnets and steel guides are used to slot the two pieces of the keyboard together

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

Trailer video

5 comments
Slowburn
Years ago when considering mobile computing I decided that a keyboard that separated into 2 parts that cold be placed top-to-top and strapped to your chest would be the best option and told many people about it. Somebody finally made the keyboard. Too bad I have to watch my fingers to keep them from doing something stupid.
William Hide
Apple had one like this many years ago.
MarylandUSA
Its software and robust keys are impressive. But tendonitis sufferers like me will be better served by a Kinesis Freestyle2 and accessory "tent": http://www.ergonomicssimplified.com/store/keyboards/Freestyle_ascent
Kevin Smith
I think it is absolutely a great concept anything to make the keyboard better, well done :)
Oun Kwon
There have been several products out for many years. The problem would be that the keyboard may big, fat, and clunky. I have to see the actual specimen to evaluate incl. how smooth and easy to type. I use TypeMatrix for many years.