Keyborgs! 21 Bizarre Keyboards

Bizarre layouts. Bizarre shapes. Bizarre locations. Bizarre technologies. Did I mention these keyboards are bizarre?

Posted by  | Monday, October 19, 2009

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KeyborgsIf our ancestors of the late nineteenth century hitched a time-machine ride to 2009, nearly everything about the technology we use would leave them dumbstruck. They would, however, immediately recognize our computer keyboards, nearly all of which work in pretty much the same manner as the ones on Victorian-era typewriters. Which is not to say that a bevy of inventors haven’t tried to improve on standard-issue QWERTY. It’s just that most of their bright ideas go absolutely nowhere. Herewith, a gallery of Google Patents finds, including ones that never got off the drawing board, ones that flopped on arrival, and a few that achieved at least minor success among typists with open minds. Oh, and just for fun, there’s one bizarre keyboard in here that turned out to be bizarrely successful, too.

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Slides: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

5 Comments For This Post

  1. Wout Mertens Says:

    Number 20 does exist:

    it works, but typing with your fingers on a table hurts and you couldn’t really touch type the way you’re used to because your fingers partially obstruct your thumbs… Cool but pretty useless.

  2. Ed carden Says:

    Now here is a great example of a good product with bad marketing. This kind of keyboard is for a very narrow market but it is perfect for that market. The market where you will on occassion need keyboard access to some system but the environment in question is to hostile for that kind of equipment like a factory or other non-technical equipment friendly environment.

    Imagine going to a production line in some factory and one of the systems is down. You could use a standard keyboard even one that is perhaps durable but wouldn’t it make more sense to have sometrhing like this ion place wehere a keyboard of light pops up when you need it and then is discarded (in a sense) till needed again? You could put this in places where dust & other air bourne matrials make regular keyboard use difficult if not impossible.

    Another great use would be in space where the space you have in whatever vehicle you are in is very limited and every ounce of material you add to the vehicle increases the expense to put the thing into space.

  3. IMissLiberty Says:

    I use the Dvorak layout. It’s easier, quicker, and has been readily available since the Apple //c first added it to their hardware. First, since the commonly used letters are all on the home row, and it is common for words to be spelled with alternating consonants (right hand) and vowels (left hand), it would be easier even for the left-handed, but you could just get the left-handed Dvorak layout if you wanted. QWERTY, as you pointed out, was designed to slow you down. Frankly, that’s insulting to the consumer, and I won’t be so insulted.

  4. Allison Says:

    It’s really too bad you aren’t offering a ‘view all in one page’ option for this story.

  5. Lloyd Budd Says:

    #10 looks like SafeType Keyboard. Oh, and it seems to have mirrors to ease learning.

    Which one corresponds to Kinesis’s Contoured Keyboard?

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