Where the mouse has seen evolutionary iterations (trackpads, laser pens and even touch screens?) the keyboard, for obvious reasons, hasn’t seen much change. There’s a QWERTY layout (mostly), cursor arrows, and perhaps some special function buttons.
Pio Design, a UK based design company, have other ideas. And these ideas could shake up the humble keyboard market. At a glance the Pio One looks to be some sort of touch screen in a keyboard. But, it’s important to note their “patent-pending key design is fully mechanical” while being transparent. So you still get tactile feedback that is satisfying.
The Pio One is designed to automatically switch between customisable key layouts, so we can let the days of fixed functioning keys and/or sticky keyboard covers go. “Every key can display a different image, perform a different action, and change appearance and function depending on what application or game you are using.”
This will be ideal for producers using multiple DAWs (that’s a lot of us!) And Pio will have existing layouts you can download or you can create your own layouts where each key can be mapped to a different action or series of actions. Oh joy! I've been waiting for this keyboard, but I didn't even realize I'd been waiting for it!
Pio One isn’t available yet but will be on Kickstarter soon. Until then we’ll have to wait on details like price and exact features. But we’re certainly liking the look and concept behind this new breed of keyboards.