I bumped into Jesse Vincent and his keyboard project called Keyboardio at last year's Solid conference
. Then, it was a developing project with a lot of literally rough edges, but since I'm a bit of a keyboard enthusiast, it grabbed my attention. In the time since, his plan to bring a truly hackable keyboard to the world has gained momentum, and the dozens of layouts and material combinations that he and partner in design Kaia Dekker have considered have been boiled down into one nearly-ready final version. The result is a compact split keyboard housed in an "heirloom quality" wooden case. It has some features you might consider overwrought -- like an RGB LED beneath each key, a precision mouse feature via WASD keys, and the ability, theoretically, to put more than a dozen feet between each half of the board. But if you're designing a keyboard from scratch, why not?
Vincent and Dekker put their project onto Kickstarter
, then spent weeks on a road trip showing it at hacker and maker spaces around the U.S.; the project updates make a nice travelogue about just how widespread and varied is the world of DIY culture. I caught up with him in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the road between some of those demo gigs, to talk about the long path from idea to (hopefully) shipping a product to backers. By the time we had this conversation, the project was well past fully funded, andI was impressed enough to order one myself; hopefully, the clicky keys will be worth the cost of a middlin' Chromebook, though Vincent admits they're not going to fool anyone looking for a buckling spring action. On the other hand, at least at the Kickstarter price, it beats some of the Maltron keyboards
I've been eyeing for years. Plus, it comes with a screwdriver.