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Touchboard

The Touchboard is an all-in-one human input device concept by the German Butterfly Company.

KBD.news
Published December 22, 2021
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Well, usually I'm sick of buzzwords and the general marketing bullshit, so reading "The most advanced all-in-one human input device in the world!" at the top of a website without any photos of a real product should have completely turned me off to featuring this project.

Still, I thought this concept deserved a mention and it turned out to be a good decision: I managed to source some photos of a working prototype.

First things first, check the official Touchboard website and watch the teaser:

The bottom line of the Touchboard philosophy: accessibility to all relevant controls of your frontmost desktop application at your fingertips.

More specifically:

There are plenty of input devices, like orthogonal keyboards, MIDI instruments or even Apple's touch bar, but these only solve some of the many interaction problems of the modern desktop workflows. We combined all the best ideas and cutting-edge technologies in just one single device (patent pending) that follows a simple philosophy: accessibility to all relevant controls of your frontmost desktop application at your fingertips. Besides typing, executing shortcuts and controlling the cursor, our interface also allows novel interactions the world has never seen before. All of this without the need to move within or between devices (source).

I was quite disappointed to read all the bombastic taglines without seeing the actual product, so – to make sure – I wanted to confirm that this is only a concept at the moment.

I reached out to the Touchboard team, and Philip, responsible for marketing, was kind enough to send me a bunch of photos of a working prototype. I've included some of those.

All in all, I have mixed feelings about the physical layout. Apparently, it's a step back from ergo splits with regards to, well, ergonomics. But on the other hand, it also opens up several new opportunities.

Hardcore keyboard enthusiasts use a plethora of logical layers intensively but the live indication would make layers accessible to a much wider audience. And that's just the first thing that comes to mind.

In addition, I'm sold on the combination of patterns in relief and homing dashes on a touch screen. :D

I'll try to keep an eye on the Touchboard project and wish the dev team good luck with turning this great concept and promising prototype into a kick-ass product.

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Published on Wed 22nd Dec 2021. Featured in KBD #58 (source).


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