Das Keyboard has unwrapped its latest mechanical keyboard innovation, dubbed the Das Keyboard 5Q, which features configurable RGB keys and a cloud connection.
The Kickstarter campaign for the project, which will end on July 30, has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the internet community with about 1,360 backers pledging more than $90,000 in excess of the company's needed goal of $100,000.
At the time of writing, a total of $198,290 have been pledged by interested backers and is steadily increasing.
Funding options that backers can choose from range from a $1 pledge, where backers will receive updates on the 5Q's progress, to an $899 pledge, wherein the backer's name will be included in the keyboard's firmware and the "About" section of the Q software.
In addition, pledges of the $899 option "will receive an early, hand-built, keyboard with beta software [in October] and one of the first production models [in December]."
These backers will serve as the 5Q's beta testers whose feedback will be greatly considered by the company. They will also get instant access to the Q SDK programming tool to start writing custom scripts, across a number of programming languages, for the 5Q keyboard.
The seemingly successful Kickstarter campaign may be attributed to the Das Keyboard 5Q's latest innovation technique to function not only as an input device, but as a sort of an output device as well. While it won't actually output a display like that of a monitor, the RGB keys can supposedly be configured according to the user's demands and intents.
These LED-lighted keys can change colors depending on specific parameters the user sets for each individual key on the 5Q's dedicated software, Q. This contextual menu can be accessed by clicking the large round button on the upper-right hand side of the keyboard, which also serves as a knob to adjust a system's volume.
Some of the uses of this feature include tuning the keys to display the status of a software build, monitoring a PC's current CPU load, getting notified whenever an important email arrives. It also functions as a "webmaster dashboard" to track a personal website's statistics.
These customized scripts will be uploaded to the Q's cloud storage automatically and will be accessed by the keyboard directly. The cloud storage will also feature other downloadable content created by the Das Keyboard 5Q community, which users can utilize or reconfigure for their needs.
"As the first cloud-connected keyboard in the world, we think people are going to be super hyped about getting their hands on the most advanced keyboard of the 21st century," Das Keyboard says.
On the hardware side, the 5Q is built with Omron-manufactured mechanical switches, dubbed Gamma-Zulu, that can endure up to 100 million actuations. The company also claims that these switches "have a soft tactile feel comparable to the Cherry MX brown."
"The Das Keyboard 5Q detects a keypress in 0.4 milliseconds and reports it to the computer in 1 millisecond," the company describes the keyboard's analog technology, Real-Time One (RTO), adding that "the Das Keyboard 5Q is up to 45 times faster" than the keyboard used today, which utilizes an "outdated polling system" that takes 20 to 45 milliseconds to respond.
At launch, the Das Keyboard 5Q will retail for $249 and should start delivering final versions by January 2016. Its product announcement may be viewed below: