by Anton Shilov
12/28/2007 | 07:17 PM
Art Lebedev, a leading design studio from Russia primarily known for its Optimus series of keyboards with visualization, on Friday announced its new concept, which will use rather conservative touch-screen technology. But while touch-screens have been known for ages, the Optimus Tactus may involve rather complex technology.
At this point not a lot is known regarding Optimus Tactus. What is clear is that a keyboard of an unknown size has embedded touch-screen display with unclear resolution, brightness and colour depth. Special software reconfigures touch-screen and end-users can get any sizes and shapes of keys as a result. In addition, based on the rendered images Art Lebedev released, the keyboard will be able to display additional information, e.g., videos, or calculation results.
“This is the keyboard we want to produce in 2008. Actual width will depend on the TFT display we’ll use,” said Artemy Lebedev, chief executive of Art Lebedev.
It is hardly going to be easy to develop Optimus Tactus. Besides rather complex software, the design studio will have to find a sub-standard touch-screen with high resolution (assuming that working area of the keyboard is typical 30cm x 12.5cm and that each potential 10mm x 10mm key has 48x48 pixel resolution [like that on Optimus Maximus], then the screen have to be capable of displaying 1440x600 pixels) and rapid response time. In addition, Art Lebedev will have to embed inside a graphics processor that not only supports high resolutions, but also features proper video support and has low power consumption. Additionally, all the remaining touchscreen keyboard logic should be mounted in a very compact way.
Touch-screens are widely used in many markets, including public and professional segments, but only relatively recently they migrated into mainstream consumer products. The keyboard with no physical keys is something completely new as tactile feedback is something that is tremendously needed to type or press frequently used key combinations while keeping the sight on a monitor. Still, there may be situations, particularly in public sector, when such keyboards may be useful.