A group of designers have announced plans to release a customisable keyboard featuring electrophoretic e-paper displays for each key, turning to crowd-funding to provide the capital required for its production.
Claiming to be based in California but with a website registered out of Hungary - a bit of geographical redirection distressingly common among crowd-funded projects - Jaasta is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Optimus Maximus
but in a lower-cost and lower-energy package - achieved by swapping out the full-colour OLED displays under each key of the Optimus for e-paper electrophoretic panels. While this retains the key feature of the Optimus, the ability to change what is displayed on each key to provide at-a-glance reference for keyboard shortcuts or alter the language or layout on-the-fly, the ability of the e-paper to retain its image without a constant supply of power means the Jaasta cam run wirelessly for up to a year from an internal battery.
As well as its customisable keys, the Jaasta keyboard - which appears to exist solely as a series of drawings and renders at present, includes a 3.5" multi-touch trackpad at the side where the number pad would normally sit. For desktop users, an alternative version provides a more traditional number pad - with suggestions that the two units may be interchangeable. An additional accessory, the Jaasta Zero Sound Mouse, is designed to pair with the latter - and offers features ranging from two-year battery life and 64GB of internal storage to a TouchID-compatible fingerprint sensor, embedded SuperSpeed USB 3.0 input port and a customisable side-mounted touch-sensitive panel.
While Jaasta has shown every indication that it intends to launch a crowd-funding campaign for its products, the lack of physical prototypes and the claims made by the company - such as a starting price of just $79 for the Zero Sound Mouse, which seems unlikely given its claimed feature set - would suggestion a cautious approach is required. Nevertheless, interested parties can sign up to be notified when the campaign - which will charge $299 for either model of keyboard or $79 for the entry-level 8GB mouse variant - goes live at the official website