Thanks for taking the time to read this. This is the first product ever designed by me so there will be a lot of errors and things you may cringe at, but I will definitely learn a lot along the way! I’m a 25 year old Graphic Designer by day and Mechboards is my job evenings and weekends so this will be in the free time I’ve got left at the end of all that. Not much! This is an idea about why or how mechanical keyboards are like Lego pieces, built with precision and a preset plan, then bundled like glued together Duplo blocks. We have the individual pieces that we can personalise to the nth degree, yet are confined to 3/4 main design layouts. If we want to switch between these layouts, we have to buy separate products. It’s like designing your perfect car, the colour you want, engine size, manual or auto, and then, it comes only as a minivan. Even if you picked 2 doors and a V8. Minivan. 450hp? Minivan. Nope. This ain’t right.
I uploaded this idea to reddit/imgur in December as I thought it was a pretty interesting idea that no one else had really explored (to such a degree anyway)
The thought process behind it was:
I want a 60% (most people do, we’re typists after all)
But I need an arrow cluster sometimes ( it’s easier)
And I’d rather use the numpad than number row (it’s easier)
BUT, I prefer 60% when that’s all I need
Which left a sour taste in my mouth. If you want a 60% for every day use, a TKL for when you’re using excel and need arrow keys, and a 100% for data entry, you’d have to buy 3 keyboards, totalling around £300. It didn’t make sense. I understand some people only ever need a 60%. But then I see Joe Bloggs with a 60% and a numpad. So…….why not make it one keyboard kit? Why do I have to conform and buy SEPARATE products, for the same experience. I’m rambling here but you get the idea.
I started to think about how this could work and connect to the PC and the first idea was easy. Bluetooth. Or WiFi connected pieces. Just connect them up, turn them on, and you can have them anywhere on your desk, all designed together, working together cohesively. Need the numpad? Sure thing! Just drag it out of a drawer, turn it on, “dock” it, and off you go. Done with it now? Put it away. Oh you’re playing an MMO now and only need the left part of a 60%? Go right ahead, turn everything else off and away as if you’ve got your very own game-pad and off you.
This gave us what you see to the left. You can see my initial thought process at the top of the image. I wanted Bluetooth, I wanted ease and I wanted staggering (this gets changed, more on this later) and from my very dim perspective, why the hell not? It’s a product that is feasible (modular designs exist everywhere, see Palette Gear) and Bluetooth keyboards already exist. All I needed to do was to create the cases these modules would fit into, and make sure they’re all Bluetooth and battery-powered. I was incredibly excited at this prospect.
I made sure to upload my image to reddit and got a good response from people and a lot of considerations to take in. A lot of fantastic critiques to the original concept and quite a bit was actually picked up and considered. It was really nice seeing people get involved and help. I could not imagine producing a product in secret. The help you get from a community like this is immense. I know if I did develop something in a shed at the bottom of my garden with no input I would love it, but no one else would. Being able to talk to the community, being able to talk and converse and conceptualise means ideas like this flourish and take flight. So thank you, if you commented and helped this project along.
So, this is the start. I’m screwed now. I’ve got to finish this to the end. I will traverse every avenue and every design idea because this is the product that has to do that. And I’m looking forward to it 🙂
Time Spent: 2 hours (Illustrator Image)
Money Spent £0
“It would be great if they clipped together in a Apple magsafe sort of fashion, and the power and data was passed through from the main keyboard if possible. I think I’d also like each part to have a USB port, in case I wanted to have then separate but both usable (say keyboard > mouse > numpad, which is pretty popular).