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The Kunst keyboard

The Kunst keyboard is a wireless 18-key ergonomic design by u/Fu_Lan.

KBD.news
Published August 31, 2022
Creators! Feel free to tip me off about your keyboard related projects to bring them to 120K readers.

Fu Lan aka Kunsteak shared his Kunst, an ultra-portable low-profile wireless keyboard with only 18 keys.

It may look quite intimidating at first sight, but delving into the elaborated keymap even I feel tempted to ditch a dozen keys from my own layout.

I actually daily drive this… – Fu_Lan.

The fact that Fu Lan uses this minimalist keyboard as his daily driver is even more impressive if you know that he writes not only in English but also in German and Croatian. In addition, he does programming daily, so add some artificial languages to that pool.

By the way, the name Kunst comes from his real name and is a part of his online appearance. Furthermore, it's also a reference to the German word Die Kunst (the art) – which is quite fitting in this case.

If it wasn't obvious, the design was inspired by "unofficial Ergogen maskot" Ben Vallack's Youtube videos, and the PCB was generated via Ergogen.

Just by chance I happened to have a great IRL conversation with Ergogen creator Dénes "MrZealot" Bán this weekend (more on this in my next editorial), and he has an introductory video on Ergogen if you are new to this workflow.

All in all, the Kunst came at the right time to take some inspiration from.

With regards to getting accustomed to such an extreme logical layout, Fu Lan writes:

I know it seems insane at first glance, I was baffled too as to how this works… but once you remember all the keys and layer switching it becomes very easy to type on. I’d recommend checking out Ben Vallack (YouTube). You can see him type on 18 keys. He even typed on 16 but that was too few keys and it unnecessarily hindered the flow in certain scenarios, mostly uppercase keys.

He is getting better at typing: Starting with 20 WPM two weeks ago he's up to 60 and thinks 100 WPM is possible despite the few keys and many layers.

Reacting to concerns about tailor-made layouts affecting our ability to type on standard or more conventional keyboards, the designer answered:

It definitely affects my ability to use other keyboards… this is mostly due to the layout and two-layer-alpha keys […] What I have also noticed is that my overall sitting position, distance from keyboard and shoulder tension/relaxation influence my wpm speed by about 10-15 wpm. Whenever I keep my elbows level with the keyboard or the desk (90 deg.), my lumbar spine supported and my shoulders relaxed (which also helps me remember to breathe when typing) I tend to write up to 20 wpm faster and with better accuracy.

Resources

All the files, including the Ergogen YAML config, outlines and KiCad files, are available in this GitHub repo:

https://github.com/kunsteak/kunst_keyboard

And here is the ZMK repo:

https://github.com/kunsteak/zmk-config-kunst

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Published on Wed 31st Aug 2022. Featured in KBD #93 (source).


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