briefly: Austrian modder Thomas Pollak (deal with: Thpoll) has spent the previous couple of years engaged on a keyboard challenge known as PolyKybd, which stands for Multilingual Keyboard. It goals to supply customers with a keyboard that may change letters or layouts with out altering keycaps. It does this by embedding a small OLED show in every key.
The cut up mechanical keyboard options an orthogonal key structure, and the clear keycaps comprise a 0.42-inch diagonal 72×40 OLED show. The PolyKybd additionally has two small OLED standing shows on the keyboard halves.
“Being a bit overzealous, I additionally determined to make use of an OLED standing show that wasn’t out there on the breakout board to keep away from any provide chain points with third-party PCBs,” Pollak talked about within the challenge particulars. “It’s a naked OLED show with a 30-pin FPC (I2C) that I obtained from a show provider I belief.”
The show of every key may be modified in keeping with the context. For instance, urgent Shift or Alt will trigger the keys to show the characters comparable to these keys.
Another bodily characteristic is a small Pimoroni trackball for cursor management. Earlier variations had a management wheel, however Pollak understandably prefers a trackball controller.
Under the hood, Pollak makes use of a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller. The Pi will deal with rendering for all these small screens. It will even deal with no matter else it wants, from sending output to switching alphabets and layouts.
At final depend, PolyKybd helps 10 languages, together with English, German, Spanish, Japanese, and French. It’s unclear if PolyKybd can have another keycap structure like Dvorak’s, however there is not any cause why it should not. Now that the bodily design is usually full, Pollak has began engaged on the firmware, so he can finally add extra languages and alternate layouts.
PolyKybd is just not the primary of its form. Other keyboards have carried out OLEDs within the keycaps, similar to Artemy Lebedev’s Optimus Maximus from 2007. Unfortunately, Art Lebedev Studio stopped promoting the Maximus in 2014. Apple filed a patent for an OLED keyboard in 2007. But, apart from the discontinued OLED Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, Cupertino has proven little interest in bringing an OLED keyboard to market.
Availability is nearly unknown. Pollak replied to a commenter on Ko-fi that if he supplied a business model of the PolyKybd now, it must be out there as a DIY equipment for about $200 attributable to the price of the parts. Of course, having companion traders tackle the price of mass manufacturing is an possibility, bringing it right down to a extra inexpensive worth level.
But $200 for a mechanical keyboard it’s a must to assemble is not too dangerous, contemplating yow will discover different mass-produced keyboards that value rather more. For instance, the Corsair K100 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard has an MSRP of $250, whereas the Keychron Q6 has an MSRP of $215. None of those choices have OLED keys.
That stated, PolyKybd is a distinct segment product. Most individuals hardly ever want to modify keyboard layouts or languages. Of course, having dynamically altering keys is a helpful characteristic if you cannot bear in mind which keystrokes deliver up the £ image, however in any other case, Pollak’s design is cooler than the rest.