While the concept of dynamic LCD keys is no new idea in the world of keyboard design the idea of using e-ink to fulfill the job certainly is—and it’s a great one, too.
Dreamt up by designers Maxim Mezentsev and Aleksander Suhih, this keyboard would use the same e-ink displays as your Kindle to offer up dynamic keys. That would mean that you could have custom buttons for different pieces of software—an illustrated guide to shortcuts in Photoshop or Word, say (see below)—or even use customized keyboard layouts and fonts.
But while the idea has been offered up before, what makes this great is the inclusion of e-ink. The great part about using e-ink is, of course, the low power consumption involved—which might even make it feasible to produce a wireless version of one of these things, which you certainly can’t do with an LED version. That would be quite something.
And it’s worth noting that this is definitely an appropriate application for e-ink: while it’s often criticized over its relatively poor refresh rate, that isn’t a problem here at all, because a slightly tardy refresh won’t make any difference to your typing. Man, do we hope this thing becomes a reality.