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Liquid Crystal Keyboard

Keyboard cues where you need them.
  [vote for,

First submission... hello everyone... I discovered that there are a lot of old backlit keyboard ideas, as well as the LEGO keyboard one, that are similar, but I'm hoping that mine qualifies as a new idea...

I would like a keyboard to have a small liquid crystal screen on each key, where the letters are. I am NOT talking about a touchscreen keypad, but a normal keyboard where you have the satisfaction of pressing down on each key with a thunk. The key screens display the usual key cues, like !/1, but when you change your keyboard setting to e.g. Cyrillic or Japanese, the displays change too. It is better than the Virtual Keyboard software display you get in Windows, which puts the keyboard layout on the screen so you have to look up and down for each keystroke.

To have mass market appeal, the keys would be backlit i.e. colored background, with predetermined colors (like the Empire State Building light display) linked to calendar/holidays, and with self-setting options as well. You can put a background image on your whole keyboard or on each key. You can have a Keyboard Screensaver. You can make it flash to music. You can make the letters larger for people with poor eyesight - the shift key will change the keys to the shifted capitals so you know before you type.

The reason I thought of this was, I had to type in Cyrillic and it took me a key-by-key search to find their A. So, what would also be really good is to have the key display respond to voice commands - e.g. if you are new to the American keyboard and can't find the @, there will be a software where you yell "At!" at the computer and the key blinks at you. This will encourage new developments in learning-to-type software with blinking keys, and maybe the silly paper clip Office Assistant can teach you one shortcut command key combination per day.

I would like to see this on cell phones as well, especially for the Composer. I always forget which keys make the notes an octave higher, etc. When I go to the Composer setting, the key display would also change. I guess this can be applied to text messaging as well, although I am a cell phone novice and wouldn't really know.

hedgehoga, Oct 07 2003

Projection Keyboard http://www.virtual-...rd.com/products.asp
[Amos Kito, Oct 17 2004, last modified Apr 03 2008]

backlit keyboard http://www.halfbake.../backlit_20keyboard
[Amos Kito, Oct 17 2004]

Artlebedev: Optimus Maximus (ca $1500) http://store.artleb...er_add-ons/optimus/
LCD screen below each key. (Keys are transparent.) Displays current key meaning, reacts to modifiers. [jutta, Apr 03 2008]

Optimus Mini 3 http://www.thinkgee...mputing/input/88ee/
smaller cheaper version [jaksplat, Apr 07 2008]


       Using classic LCDs would probably be very expensive and easily breakable, but there are some new display technologies like OLED and "Digital Paper" that might make this doable in the near future. Would be handy for games that assign specific meanings to keys as well.   

       Nice first idea, welcome to the bakery.
krelnik, Oct 07 2003

       Excellent idea, but you might run into space issues when you go from an English "qwerty" setup to Mandarin Chinese.   

       Also like the tactile aspect of this as well!
muzer, Oct 07 2003

       [ravenswood] suggested something like this in the annotations to "backlit keyboard".   

       You can bake a similar product now, with a "projection keyboard" [link] onto blank keys. The mechanical portion wouldn't be connected to the PC.
Amos Kito, Oct 07 2003

       Oh, the photos on the individual LED link from [o] made me realize that [ravenwood] was talking about the same thing in "backlit keyboard". I thought LEDs would be those little individual blinking lights, tracing out a letter like on scoreboards, and couldn't cover the whole square. Sorry. But I guess if the wear problem could be overcome, liquid crystals would give a nicer resolution.   

       And don't the Mandarin typers use a qwerty conversion system anyway? I thought all languages basically used the same number of keys.   

       I wonder what happens when you knock over that projection keyboard by mistake.
hedgehoga, Oct 07 2003

       This is thoroughly, even Widely, Baked on the Trading floor, especially for telephone turrets, but also for keyboards.
DrCurry, Oct 07 2003

       sorry, you are to late. we produced such kind of keyboard more than 10 years ago. Do you need some displays ( 1*1 or 1*1,5 ) for your own design ? avaliable at ( lcd-solution.com )
UPW, Nov 04 2003

       jutta is so smart.
Ander, Apr 03 2008

       Baked...Optimus Maximus...came out (or at least talked about for about 2 years now). I believe thye use OLED for each keyboard and it costs about $2K...   

       In my opinion i think it would be better to use a bistable display so you wouldnt need constant power for it (e.g. E-ink or Chromatic for color).   

       Nice post none the less..bun from me
quantass, Apr 03 2008

       [+]This would be especially useful in audio and video editing applications for quickly identifying keyboard shortcuts.
Jscotty, Apr 03 2008


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