http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus/ crazy shit! wow, i can’t believe nobody’s thought of that before. maybe it’s cuz it hasn’t really been technically feasible to do it nicely and cheaply enough until now. i’ve seen plastic transparent covers that go over your entire keyboard to add on the “be pe me fe” “phonetic alphabet” used for Chinese to your keys (as well as a system of individual stickers to go on your keyboard, which is much more aesthetically appealing) but making the actual KEYBOARD ITSELF have a changable DISPLAY… that is … gosh, so ELEGANT!

edited to add that that entire website is awesome. i love/hate it when i use “that that,” because i’m afraid that people will think it’s a typo, but then i look forward to mocking whoever thinks it’s a typo.


  1. It’s using OLEDs (Organic LEDs) for the keys which only became reasonably priced or able to be mass produced like 1 or 2 years ago (they only started showing up on digital cameras last year, and those are the first products to really use OLEDs). So yeah, it didn’t get cheap until recently.

    Also a problem with OLEDs is that over time their picture quality degrades and are prone to burn-in like your CRT TVs and monitors. I’d be curious what they do to prevent burning in the letters on the keys (which in everyday usage aren’t going to change much). Don’t buy the first ones they release so that they have time to work out the kinks. 🙂

    1. Amazing. How soon do you think it’ll be before every button we ever press has OLEDs behind them? Light switches will say “press to turn off” when they’re switched to on and “turn on” when they’re off…. speaker volume knobs will display the % loudness they’re at… alarm clock buttons will say “snooze for x minutes” … toaster levers will display the heat setting and number of seconds left…

      1. Those are pretty cool ideas!

        But I think the thing with OLEDs that is even cooler is that you can print it using inkjet technologies onto flexible surfaces. Like paper. Or clothing. It’s also much easier to make large OLED displays than large LCD displays.

        Once they get over the technology hurdles, OLEDs *are* your roll up monitor/moving paper. Or your cheap wall sized flat-panel. Or your t-shirt with a video display in it. Much cooler than a keyboard with changeable keys 🙂 (This message is brought to you by Mike, walking talking spokesperson of the OLED industry.)

        (Although I *want* that keyboard!) (If only to program it to make the keyboard talk to you.)

        (And after checking Wikipedia I was wrong. They started becoming cheap like 2003, so more like 3 years ago.)

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