Optimus Upravlator

Russian designers’ studio Art. Lebedev has unveiled an innovative input device, the Optimus Upravlator, which resembles a touch screen and can be programmed to perform various tasks, as its function keys can be assigned with almost any given function, enhancing the user-interface experience.

The Optimus Upravlator is aimed at media professionals. Featuring a 10.8-inch color LCD with 800 ×600 pixels resolution and 12 see-through buttons, the device can presumably offer every user its own useful shortcuts. The keypads occupy the device’s whole surface, and each one of them has five contact points—center, top, bottom, left and right—freely assignable to user interface elements in any given software, such as Adobe Photoshop.

An optional folding stand allows users to place the device in the most ergonomic position and orientation available; for instance, if workspace limitations force users to work while standing, it can be rotated accordingly. Furthermore, the Upravlator has two cords (besides the power supply cord) for connection to a computer (USB and VGA). While the USB cable’s function is obvious, Art. Lebedev explain that the video cable is supplied for systems that have a secondary video card – thus enabling the option to display video on the Upravlator.

The Upravlator uses open standard protocols, which will make it easier for developers to create compatible applications. Moreover, its compatibility with both Windows and Mac OS X enlarges its destination market, since designers tend to use Macintosh but PCs are more common. The Upravlator is another twist on several other keyboard and display products developed by Art. Lebedev including the Optimus keyboard and the Optimus Tactus keyboard, which offer similar assignable keys.

TFOT also covered Luxeed, a unique LED keyboard, the development of “non-planar” devices which are virtually computers that have a flexible shape, and designer Kyle Cherry’s new concept laptop, named Canvas, which is similar in size to an A3 folio page. Other related TFOT stories include designer Sung-kyu Nam’s DesCom, which combines the desktop table with the personal computer, and designer Jonathan Lucas’s SIAFU, a concept PC specially designed for blind people.

For now, no price has been set for the new Optimus Upravlator. For more information about it, see Art. Lebedev’s website.

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