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The development of the widely-discussed Optimus Maximus keyboard by Art Lebedev design studio seems to have been completed as the company has demonstrated a working sample of the device in its store in Moscow, Russia. At least, the keys with functional screens were present and the buttons could be pressed during the demo.

“Optimus Maximus working prototype was shown to the crowd [at the grand opening of the Art. Lebedev Studio’s first ‘offline’ shop in Moscow]. Everyone had a chance to press any key. Each of the displays was showing a picture of a dog,” said Artemy Lebedev, the head of the design studio.

The demonstration of the functional keyboard is a proof of concept rather than a proof of actual product, as each of the keys is supposed to display a different image depending on the software that is currently used. The demonstration of the keyboard with a single image means that the developer is still hard at work designing software/drivers that support Optimus Maximus.


Photo by Art Lebedev design studio.
Click to enlarge

Earlier this year Art Lebedev announced that the first batch of Optimus Maximus keyboards will be finished by the 30th of November, 2007. Currently, the online store of the company claims that the “new” lot is projected to emerge on the 20th of December with customers receiving their Optimus Maximus keyboards in late December. In early October it transpired that the company may face shortages of certain components, which, in addition to some other factors, might cause delay of the product release.

Optimus Maximus is a full-sized 113-keys keyboard with colour OLED screens located inside each key. The screens are 10.1mm? large and have 48x48 pixels resolution, according to its developers. Specially designed software will be able to change images on the colour screens depending on the program running.

Art Lebedev started accepting pre-orders on its Optimus keyboard on the 20th of May and it took the company 12 hours to pre-sell 200 keyboards that cost $1564 each.

The company planned to ship the first batch, or 200 pieces, of Optimus Maximus starting the 30th of November. The company promised that in December, 2007 and January, 2008 it will ship another 200 and 400 units, respectively.

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