by Das Keyboard
Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet.
About this project
The World’s First Cloud Connected Keyboard
Do you think keyboards as input devices only? With this project, we are redefining the way we use keyboards by adding an output function. You can now also use it as a dashboard. Intrigued? Read on.
Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet. It is built with ground-breaking electronics that provide superior RGB LED brightness and unsurpassed response time. Along with the Das Keyboard Q application, the Das Keyboard 5Q makes you more productive by streaming information directly to your keyboard.
Do you often find yourself with millions of browser tabs open, constantly switching context to keep up with project status, weather info, software build statuses, customer quality metrics, stock quotes, websites alarms and even your boss’s urgent emails? Tracking so much information involves a lot of mental context switching. That’s your productivity going down the drain. You’ve known this all along but can’t help it because you just have to be in the know. You are an overachiever and there is absolutely no way even a single piece of information will escape you. Your peers frequently pick your brain because you are the keeper of knowledge. Put simply, you are the one who knows. Period.
So, are you ready to take your productivity and status to the next level?
The Das Keyboard 5Q is an Output Device
Das Keyboard 5Q is the keyboard of the 21st century. No less.
The Das Keyboard 5Q is a full size high-performance, high-quality mechanical RGB keyboard that is connected to the Internet. Each RGB LED can be color-controlled remotely to represent a specific piece of information.
That browser tab that shows your company software build status? Set it on the B key: green means the build passes, red mean it’s a #fail. Is your company customer satisfaction important to you? Set the keys on the number row to display customer satisfaction from 1 to 10 as a bar graph. Get it? You can program any key on the Das Keyboard 5Q to glow the color you want based on the information you define. No more. No less. And that’s what makes the Das Keyboard 5Q different from any other keyboard ever created. It’s not just an input device — it’s also an output device.
Streaming Ambient Information
So while you work on solving rocket science problems on your giant monitor tethered to the latest quadruple octo-core computer, you won’t need to look or click or do anything to know about what’s going on. The information is right there on your keyboard. It is ambient. You see it without even looking at it. Thanks to your peripheral vision, you’re able to see what’s on your desk when you are looking at your monitor. Now you’re able to close all those CPU-wasting browser tabs and actually do some work while information streams out of your Das Keyboard 5Q deep into your enlightened consciousness.
But my iPhone sends me notifications already?
Of course it does. But we get way too many notifications. The typical smartphone user checks his or her phone 150 times a day on average. Who wants another notification, text message, phone, email or meeting reminder? Notifications are counterproductive because they constantly interrupt and distract from what we are trying to accomplish. Certainly you knew that already, right? They force you to constantly shift your attention, thus slowing down the delivery of the awesome work your boss will be blessed to receive from you.
So, you want me to look at the keyboard to see the info, right? Isn’t that slowing me down?
Actually, no, you don’t need to look — it’s in your peripheral vision. You see it without looking at it. It’s similar to being in your office and knowing what the weather’s like outside without actually having to look out the window.
So let’s recap:
With the Das Keyboard 5Q, the keyboard:
- becomes an output device (don’t worry you can still type on it)
- becomes a dashboard of glowing colors, with each key or group of keys having a specific meaning to you
Packed with State of The Art Technology
The Building Blocks of Das Keyboard 5Q Connected Keyboard:
- IOT / cloud-connected keyboard with mechanical RGB switches
- A Q button: activates the Das Keyboard Q software when pressed, volume knob when turned
- The keyboard sports the Das Keyboard Q firmware connected to Q cloud servers via your computer network stack
- A desktop REST API to control the keyboard light settings
Multi-language Rest API
We are also preparing a community website where developers will be able to share their open source widgets which can control the keyboard lighting effects any way they want. By contributing to this campaign, you will have early developer access so you can start writing some awesome widgets.
A “Q” button? What’s up with that?
You configured your Das Keyboard 5Q numeric keypad to show the progress of your project “New product launch”. But that was 6 months ago and as we speak your keyboard’s numeric keypad is gradually changing color from orange to green. Why is the color changing?
That’s where the Q button comes in. You push it and that little savant sends a 5 volt discharge to your 32-bit Das Keyboard 5Q CPU, which in turn tells your desktop to display what information is currently streaming from your keyboard. In this very case, it tells you that your “New product launch” project is complete. That’s what the Q button is for. It means “on cue” — but badly spelled.
Tell me about those mechanical switches. My fingers need the best.
Well then, you’ve come to the right keyboard. We have been working for more than two years with Omron, a world-class switch manufacturer located in Japan. It is modern, fast and the tactile feel is incredible. We named it the Gamma-Zulu mechanical switch.
It withstands 100 million actuations. It is up to 100% more durable than most competitor switches. And lucky you, we put 104 of them on each keyboard. These babies need 45 grams to do their deed and produce nice tactile feedback. They actuate at 1.5 mm — that’s for speed. The full travel is 3.5mm — that’s for comfort.
The Gamma Zulu switches have a soft tactile feel comparable to the Cherry MX brown.
Tell me more about that light you mentioned.
Real-Time One: Fastest analog electronics for fast typists and gamers
Let’s talk numbers. The Das Keyboard 5Q detects a keypress in 0.4 milliseconds and reports it to the computer in 1 millisecond. 99% of mechanical keyboards use an outdated polling system that takes between 20 to 45 milliseconds to report a key to the computer. So, the Das Keyboard 5Q is up to 45 times faster than the keyboard you are using today. We named this technologyReal-Time One — or, RTO in short. At its heart, it is an analog technology. If you are a gamer or a fast typist, you understand how important speed is.
Das Keyboard 5Q Technical Specifications
- Das Keyboard mechanical switches withstanding 100M actuations – made by Omron, Japan.
- Centered SMT RGB Leds
- Q button – dual purpose with volume
- 3 light pipes: 2 on the sides, and 1 around the Q button
- Layout 104-key US (ISO)
- 105-key layout (ANSI) for UK, NO, and DE
- Tactile bump on F, J, and numeric keypad 5 keys.
- Extra-long 6.5 ft (201 cm) braided USB cable with single USB type-A connector
- Fulltime NKRO over USB for fast typists and gamers
- Detachable palm-rest
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux
- User upgradable firmware (over the Internet with the Q app)
- Desktop REST Api
- Q desktop application
- Q cloud software
- Q software compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux
Das Keyboard 5Q Key Technologies
Using the Das Keyboard 5Q as a Dashboard: Real Life Examples
Help Us Shape The Future of Keyboards
With this Kickstarter campaign and with your help, we are redefining the way we use keyboards. First and foremost a keyboard is made for an awesome typing experience. The Das Keyboard 5Q is no exception.
Furthermore, we were able to add an output function to this keyboard in the most minimalistic way. We can’t wait to see what developers are going to write for the Das Keyboard 5Q open API.
Risks and challenges
Das Keyboard is staffed by a team of experts who have produced keyboards, mice, and other PC components for many decades. We think we have a firm grip on the time table. However, it’s possible that our production schedule may shift based on the number of orders we receive.
Das Keyboard strives for honesty and transparency, and if there are any delays or challenges, we will quickly update our community.
The industrial design is completed and we have some early prototypes in hand. We now started working on manufacturing preparations and have partially invested in tooling for mass production.
On the software side, we have released several Q software alpha versions which are visible here in the screenshots.
We still have to improve the software to deliver a perfect and user-friendly application along with its open source community website.
Most of your contributions will go into the injection molding toolings so we can finalize the next round of prototypes and start production. The rest of the funds will go to building an awesome community website where our users will be able to share their software widgets & API scripts.