Art Lebedev Optimus Maximus keyboard - First Look
One particularly cool piece of kit- amongst an almost infinite number - making its debut at CES this year was the Art Lebedev keyboard. And the reason it's so sought after is that beneath each of the Optimus Maximus's 113 keys is a tiny 48 x 48 pixel OLED screen, which can be set to display icons and shortcuts of your choice.
Any alphabet from any country for example: you could switch from English characters to Japanese at the click of a mouse and when you hold down the shift key the letters change to upper case.
Each of the little individual OLED screens is sharp and very clearly visible and not only can it be set up to display shortcut keys, but a number of different keyboard layouts can be set up, saved and activated at any time. For instance, should you wish, all of the Adobe Photoshop shortcuts could be laid out across your keyboard, all clear to see and oh-so-easy to access.
Down the left-hand side of the models on show, there were two columns of five shortcut buttons, displaying the logo of YouTube for one-touch access to that website and the Firefox logo to launch the browser. Not only can these can be fully customised, but they can also be dynamically updated - the Gmail logo also displays a small number to show you how many unread messages are waiting in your inbox.
The keys themselves were a bit spongy to use and they are a little over-sized to compensate for the screens, which could make touch-typing tricky, and the keyboard does weigh more than you’d expect.
It’s clearly not designed to be portable. We were told that was deliberate to ensure it didn’t move about at all when being used. Unfortunately, the price is also a little hefty at $1500, but it does offer fully compatible with Mac, PC and Linux.
Aside from the price, the only, teeny-tiny downside to this perfect peripheral is that the icons have to be drawn manually in the management software that comes with it, which we imagine might get a bit tiresome after a while.