October 26, 2015

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard Launches Campaign

A startup from Hungary has just launched their Ultimate Hacking Keyboard crowdfunding campaign this month, and what they envision to bring to market is the most advanced mechanical keyboard we’ve ever seen. Professional programmers should take notice – this may be the best mechanical keyboard for coding in 2016.

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard Key Features

Ergonomic, Adaptable Layout
At its core, the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is a mix between an ErgoDoxand 60%, with 65 keys. This makes it much smaller than a standard tenkeyless mechanical keyboard. The first thing you’ll notice about the UHK is it splits in two, to better fit the ergonomics of your hands and wrists. While split, the two halves of the keyboard are connected with a single curly cable that expands as needed.

Being split apart for more natural positioning is the main advantage of the ErgoDox layout, but the UHK can also snap back together to form a single keyboard. This gives it a huge advantage over ErgoDox in that it’s much more portable. Also, having the ability to blend in and look more like a normal keyboard may be preferable in situations when you don’t want to draw attention to yourself. Some people may just plain not like a split keyboard layout, and the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard does a great job at pleasing everyone.

Productivity Hacks
Here’s where the real magic of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard comes to light. There are 4 different layers to the keyboard layout, as seen below.

The Base layer is your standard alphanumeric layout.

By holding the Fn key, you access the Fn layer which holds shortcuts for your media, as well as often used applications. There are also some OS commands here, like sleeping or locking your PC.

The Mod layer holds keys that handle the “Lock” functions, as well as your standard navigation keys. It also has shortcuts for closing a tab, opening a tab, switching between tabs, and switching between windows.

Finally, the most interesting layer – the Mouse layer. By holding down the Mouse key, you can control all functions of a mouse directly from the keyboard. This includes moving the cursor, clicking, using the scroll wheel, and accelerating/decelerating the cursor. While I’m not that excited to try to control my cursor with a keyboard, being able to quickly wheel up or down a page without having my hands leave the keyboard sounds awesome.

Here’s a short preview of the Mouse layer in action.

You can also program your own application-specific keymaps and macros onto the keyboard and save them onto stored memory. You can also share these keymaps with other UHK owners.

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard Hardware
The hardware used on any device that has to connect and break apart frequently is a concern, so the team decided to use steel connector guides mounted to the stainless steel backplate for durability as well as a pair of magnets to ensure the keyboard stays connected when it should, and breaks apart smoothly.

The UHK will connect to your computer via standard USB cable, and comes with a lock screw to keep the pieces always connected in case you’re transporting it a long distance or prefer it in one piece.

The small LED display in the upper-left piece will display the Caps Lock status, shows if it’s connected to the Agent configuration application, if “adaptive mode” is enabled (auto-switching keymaps according to what app your PC is currently using), and the abbreviation of the current keymap.

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard Keys and Switches
It wouldn’t be the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard if it wasn’t customizable to your exact preference. You can choose either ANSI or ISO key layouts, and 6 different Greetech MX switch types. This includes Blue, Brown, Red, Black, Clear, and Green.

The keycaps will be laser-engraved ABS and feature non-standard Space, Mod, right Ctrl, and Backspace keys. If you wanted to replace those, you’d likely need to go a 3D printed route until the company can offer something new.

Interested in being one of the first to get your hands on the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard? Head over to their project page now, you can still get $50 off retail at the time of writing if you act fast!