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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Top 10 strangest keyboards

The keyboard is a very much needed device in the computer. Nobody experiments with keyboards too much, even the layout that most of us use (QWERTY) did not change since typewriters. However, there would be no development without evolution, and while some of us make wireless keyboards with displays and USB hubs, others works on massive redesign of what the keyboards must be. Here are the top ten strangest keyboards ever produced in our opinion.

10. Luxeed LED Rainbow Keyboard

The backlit buttons on a keyboard is a very useful feature, especially if you sit all night in front of your computer. This keyboard has this feature too, but... It goes further, letting you to customize each button's color. Therefore, you can choose the pattern you like the most, or just color the different blocks of buttons to different colors. Maybe this is not the strangest keyboard, but it is definitely not regular one.

9. Roll-up Keyboard

If you think that your keyboard must go everywhere with you, then you will be interested in this extremly portable rubber keyboard. You can roll it up and stick it in your pocket with ease. That is all that makes it different from an ordinary one, but is it not enough for a keyboard to consider it strange? The biggest advantage of this keyboard - there will be no food under the buttons.

8. The Wrist keyboard

Hey, this one reminds me of Predator from Aliens vs Predator movie. The Predator had a computer on his wrist and typed on it regularly. However, this one only serves as a keyboard. It is hard to think of conditions when this keyboard is useful, maybe when you need to type while standing, or to control some device on the field. The main disadvantage is that only one hand is involved in typing, which makes typing painfully slow compared to usual method.

7. The Frogpad

This tiny keyboard can is more suitable to call a keypad, because it has only 20 buttons instead of 110. However, each button can accomplish several different functions. For example, button labeled as "O" can be used to type "O", slash, backslash, "Q", 7, or it can be the left arrow button and Insert button. All button operations are done via set of symbol shifting keys. It is obvious that they did all this 10 operation per button thing for reducing keyboard's size, but will it be comfortable to use? Creators say that after a good training you will be able to get up to 40 words per minute with this keypad... Nevertheless, why should you bother so much if you can do all that with the regular one?

6. The Twiddler 2

This keyboard is very similar to previous one, but it uses very different approach to typing. On this keyboard (keypad?) you need to press buttons just like when playing on the guitar. Maybe this keyboard is made especially for Guitar Hero fans or musicians, but for the ordinary people it will be very uncomfortable. The designers say that it will take "a weekend" to learn to type 30 words per minute on this thing. The question is - should you bother learning?

5. The cre8txt keyboard

This interesting keyboard continues the row of tiny compact keypads. It has one huge difference: it is created for SMS fanatics in mind. The button layout will be known to people who own cell phones - it is made in good and old three letters per button style. This keyboard has predictive input software, even slang to normal English translator, but it hugely lacks in speed compared with usual 110-buttoned keyboard.

4. Toshiba Gaming Keyboard

If you are a gamer then you know that regular keyboard is not that good for gaming as it is for typing. Therefore, person who wants to play often usually purchases a gamepad. Toshiba thinks that a true gamer must stick with a keyboard instead of a gamepad, but not with the regular one - with modified one. This gaming keyboard is almost completely useless for typing - it has only 55 buttons, which is enough for any game but is not enough for typing. It is questionable, why a gamer should buy this keyboard instead of a gamepad if he is not a First Person Shooter games fan.

3. Maltron 3D Ergonomic Keyboard

First thing you will notice - this keyboard is made especially to prevent RSI and to increase ergonomics. Yes, it is very ergonomic. However, you will need a week or two to get used to this "ergonomicness". It is the good idea to move button groups to the different sides, so the hands lie comfortably while typing. It even features some multimedia buttons, which are near the numpad panel that rests in the center of this keyboard. If this is what the ideal keyboard is, it is best to stick with the usual one instead, because this one looks completely strange.

2. The SafeType keyboard

This one looks even stranger that the previous one, but at least it is understandable why it is shaped like this. The main idea is that while typing position of your hands will be more comfortable, and they will not suffer from RSI and many other side effects of usual keyboards. However, the efforts you make to master this type of keyboard will overcome any advantages of this layout.

1. Orbitouch keyboard

This keyboard is the strangest of them all - it has no buttons. Not even a single one. How the keystrokes are made? Simple. The orbiTouch creates a keystroke when you rotate the two domes into one of their eight respective positions. Sliding the domes will result caracters respective to their positions. It also has a mouse function built in so thi one keyboard is able to replace a usual keyboard and a mouse. It is for sure that even after a hard training you will be able to slide (the word "type" just isn't right for this thing) words faster than on a usual keyboard. However, it may be useful for people with limited abilities.