Peripherals startup Nemeio has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a keyboard with a difference: Each key is a configurable ePaper display, allowing for unlimited customization.
"Nemeio is completely customizable because of its built-in wide ePaper screen," explains project founder Laurent Villemonte de la Clergerie. "Whether you choose an existing keyboard layout or design your own, Nemeio will display your own personalized keyboard – just the way you like it!"
"The wide ePaper screen is underneath 81 transparent keys. The screen mimics the appearance of ordinary ink on paper providing visual comfort, along with low-energy consumption and a front light to adjust the brightness to your liking."
The idea behind the project is to give users quick and easy customization: A dedicated application enables the user to select an icon, symbol, or character for each of the keyboard's 81 keys, program their function, and flip between black-on-white and white-on-black color schemes. The underlying display needs no refreshing, using electrophoretic technology which only actively draws power when changing between states.
The software is also aware of your applications. a "Contextual Switch" mode promises to alter the keyboard's layout to application-specific icons and shortcuts, as well as allow for easy switching between different languages.
The Nemeio stands on the shoulders of other customizable keyboard projects: The Art Lebedev Optimus Maximus is perhaps the most famous, offering a color OLED panel beneath each key, though the core technology launched with Reinhard Engstler's LCBoard in 1984. Smaller scale examples, like the open-source FreeDeck, have enjoyed a recent boost in popularity as customizable macro keypads.
The Nemeio is funding now on Kickstarter, priced at €202 for early bird backers and €230 at standard pricing (around $239 and $272 respectively) with delivery scheduled for September 2021.