The Russian design company Art. Lebedev Studio developed this innovative keyboard concept called the Optimus Keyboard. Forget Insert, Symbol – it’s not just your run-of-of-the-mill QWERTY keyboard. In place of image-imprinted keys, the Optimus keyboard was originally designed to use 113 keys made of small Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs), but recently the company reversed this decision but have yet to announce which screen technology it will employ. Depending on the software running, each tiny key screen of the keyboard displays different fonts, languages, notes, numerals, special symbols, HTML codes, mathematical functions, or your own customizable images. Using Photoshop, for instance, the keyboard will display special tools such as brushes, layers, and filters; in Microsoft Word, it will show multi-lingual fonts of your choosing, cut, copy, paste, and so on; in games, images showing movement and weapons will be displayed.
Currently, the full 113 Optimus is not available but should be by the end of the year. In the meantime, a much smaller 3-key version (which employs OLED screens) called Optimus mini three is on the market. The 113 key version of the Optimus should start around $200 – not cheap for a keyboard, but extremely handy.
Update (3/28/2007): After talking to Artemy Lebedev on CeBIT 2007 we can now confirm a much higher price for the keyboard (now called Optimus Maximus). More details from on our CeBIT 2007 coverage. Updated price: $1500.
More information and images from the Art. Lebedev Studio website