PolyKybd is a mechanical keyboard with tiny OLED keycaps for simple customization

In a nutshell: Austrian modder Thomas Pollak (deal with: Thpoll) has spent the final couple of years engaged on a keyboard venture referred to as PolyKybd, which stands for polylingual keyboard. It goals to supply customers with a keyboard that does not require changing keycaps to change alphabets or layouts. It achieves this by embedding small OLED shows in every key.

The split-style mechanical keyboard has an orthogonal key format, with clear keycaps containing 0.42-inch diagonal 72×40 OLED shows. The PolyKybd additionally has two small OLED standing shows on each halves of the keyboard.

“A bit over-enthusiastic, I additionally determined to make use of an OLED standing show which doesn’t come on a break-out board to keep away from any supply-chain points with third social gathering PCBs,” Pollak mentions within the particulars of the venture. “It is a naked OLED show with a 30-pin FPC (I2C), which I bought from my trusted show provider.”

Every key’s show can change relying on context. For instance, urgent Shift or Alt will trigger the keys to show the corresponding character for these keypresses.

One other bodily function is a small Pimoroni trackball for cursor management. Earlier variations had a management wheel, however Pollak understandably likes the trackball controller higher.

Underneath the hood, Pollak makes use of a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller. The Pi will deal with the rendering of all these tiny screens. It is going to additionally course of the rest it must, from sending output to switching alphabets and layouts.

Finally depend, PolyKybd supported 10 languages, together with English, German, Spanish, Japanese, and French. It’s unclear if PolyKybd could have alternate keycap layouts corresponding to Dvorak, however there isn’t any purpose it could not. Now that the bodily design is usually full, Pollak has begun work on the firmware, so he might find yourself including extra languages and alternate layouts.

PolyKybd just isn’t the primary of its sort. Different keyboards have carried out OLEDs within the keycaps, corresponding to Artemy Lebedev’s Optimus Maximus from 2007. Sadly, Artwork Lebedev Studio stopped promoting the Maximus in 2014. Apple submitted a patent for an OLED keyboard in 2007. Nonetheless, apart from its discontinued OLED contact bar on MacBook Professionals, Cupertino has proven little curiosity in bringing an OLED keyboard to market.

Availability is just about unknown. Pollak replied to a commenter on Ko-fi that if he provided a industrial model of PolyKybd proper now, it must come as a DIY equipment for round $200 due to the price of the parts. In fact, getting a associate investor to choose up the large-scale manufacturing prices is an choice that might convey it all the way down to a extra inexpensive worth.

Nonetheless, $200 for a mechanical keyboard it’s important to assemble just isn’t all that unhealthy, contemplating that you could find different mass-produced boards costing extra. For instance, the Corsair K100 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard has an MSRP of $250, and the Keychron Q6 goes for $215. Neither of these choices has OLED keys.

That mentioned, the PolyKybd is a distinct segment product. Most individuals have no need to change keyboard layouts or languages. Positive, having keys that dynamically change is a helpful function if you cannot keep in mind which keystrokes convey up the £ image, however other than that, Pollak’s design is extra of a cool novelty than the rest.

Peter Johnson