KeyMouse Blog

Recent blog posts

Posted by on in General
Hello Everyone,
We're still actively working on KeyMouse (although we have not posted an update for a while).  Our primary focus has been refining a core set of KeyMouse components that can be re-used in various versions and configurations of KeyMouse.

Although this has been a major re-design of the circuit boards and core components, I believe it's the best move in the long haul for KeyMouse. Previously, our circuit boards were all designed around the specific shape of KeyMouse plastic. As we worked on the problems of injection molding and plastic shape tweaks, it was a nightmare to adjust the circuit boards to match.  We also wanted to make a more solid platform for future versions.  So, we put the plastic on hold and worked on condensing the circuit boards, and making them modular. Our latest version of circuit boards is going into production right now.
Now, we have 6 re-usable core KeyMouse modules that can be arranged in many different ways to create various versions of KeyMouse (including a trackball version).  They can be connected together using standard jumper cables with no soldering.  We plan to use these internally for producing KeyMouse, and will likely offer a "KeyMouse Kit" for sale to allow users to custom create their own KeyMouse if they prefer a different size, shape, or key arrangement.  Long term we want to bring KeyMouse to the masses, and we feel our first step is to work closely with keyboard enthusiasts with our "kit" until we perfect it:

1. KeyMouse Main Board (Platform)
The new board is much smaller and designed as a platform for future versions.




2. Mouse Module (Laser)
We separated the laser module from the main board because there are many configurations (such as trackball, vertical mouse, adjustable angle keyboard) where having the laser separate helps a lot.






We're still working on the plastic housing & bearings for this, but it's in process currently.

3. Scroll Module
Includes switch for "middle mouse click".


4. Cherry Module
Includes LED and diode on the board for anti-ghosting.  Our new version in production has 1/2 the number of pins (total of 4 pins), and the pins are now horizontal (90 degree bend from the board) to save space.  They do not extend past the edge of the circuit board.  It has very tight tolerance, but we think it will work well.  Our custom daisy chain cable (shown below) will make it much easier to chain them together and allows us to reduce the # of pins to 4.


All we have to do is connect them in rows & columns using our jumper cables.  Manually connecting these on a curved surface is pretty quick compared to soldering on a curved circuit board.  We love the flexibility this setup gives us.



5. Big Button Module - 12mm
Tactile switch mounted on circuit board. Includes a diode on the board for anti-ghosting.  We put the half circle mounting holes on the edges so they can be mounted closely together in an array if you choose.



6. Small Button Module - 6mm
Tactile switch mounted on circuit board.  Includes a diode on the board for anti-ghosting.  We put the half circle mounting holes on the edges so they can be mounted closely together in an array if you choose.



All of these modules can be connected to eachother using standard jumper cables.  We are creating a custom jumper cable to make it easier to daisy chain the keys together:

Additional Components

Trackballs
We have a good source for trackballs now, red and black.  The ball size is 34mm (same as Logitech Trackman M570).  We like this trackball size and have heard many others that like it, too.



Battery Module
We're creating this as a module, so there is no soldering needed for final assembly.



Custom Daisy Chain Jumper Cables
We are creating a custom jumper cable to minimize the number of cables needed to chain the keys together in a matrix.




Key Caps
We've got Key Caps in stock (have had them for a while, but didn't post a picture previously).  The picture shown is for our QWERTY.  We also have DVORAK, QWERTZ, AZERTY, Colemak, and Blank.



Teflon Feet
We did a lot of tests with various Teflon suppliers, and picked one that glided the best.  These are 1/2" diameter.



Summary
Using these modules, we can create various sizes, shapes, and versions of KeyMouse easily by simply adjusting the plastic housing, and re-using the same internal components.  Essentially, with this kit, you could assemble a KeyMouse with a 3D printer and a screw driver (no soldering).  We anticipate adding more components in the future (including colors of Cherry switches such as Blue, etc.)

We have at least 4 variations of shapes/configurations for KeyMouse in mind that we feel can target specific markets, including one for trackball (highly requested).  Using these modules will make it much easier for us to try different configurations and see what sticks with users in different markets we are targeting (programming, gaming, CAD, 3D modeling, general productivity, etc.).
It will take us some time to refine the plastic shape for our first KeyMouse, but we feel very good about the direction we're moving.  We should have the new boards in a few weeks.

Thanks,
Heber

Posted by on in General

We feel honored that KeyMouse® has been named as a CES 2016 Innovation Award Honoree.

CES 2016 Innovation Award Honoree

Products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 27 product categories.

The prestigious CES Innovation Awards are sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, the producer of CES 2016, the global gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, and have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976.

KeyMouse® will be displayed at CES 2016, which runs January 6-9, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Entries are evaluated on their engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use/function and user value, how the design and innovation of the product directly compares to other products in the marketplace and unique/novel features present.

Products chosen as CES Innovation Honorees reflect innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting edge tech products and services coming to market.

 

Posted by on in General

Here are some more videos of the KeyMouse prototypes.

 

This first one shows the KeyMouse being used with an Android Tablet.  Both the left and right KeyMouse devices are paired via Bluetooth.  Note: Use on tablets and phones will not be officially supported at product launch, but we're showing this video so you can see that it is working in our testing so far.

 

This next video shows some of the mouse DPI adjustments.  In the first part of the video, the "Mouse Freeze" button on the right KeyMouse is programmed for a low DPI setting for "Precision Mode" while the button is held down.  In the latter part of the video, the button at the tip of the thumb on the left KeyMouse is programmed as Fn Blue, and the F7 thru F12 buttons on the right KeyMouse are programmed to set the mouse DPI in steps from 200 DPI (F7 key) up to 3,200 DPI (F12 key).  In this example Fn Blue + F7 is programmed to set the mouse DPI to 200, etc.  This is another example of what we've been working on in the firmware (making it so this functionality can be stored in the device).

Posted by on in General

We're making good progress on the KeyMouse.

Here are some videos of our latest prototypes in use:

 

And here are some updated renderings with the latest design:

Posted by on in General

As you know, we're updating the KeyMouse™ design based on feedback we've received.

Here's a preview of an updated model.

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Posted by on in General

It's been awesome connecting with all of you, hearing your feedback, receiving your support both in pledges and in your comments and messages.  We would like to extend a big "Thank You!" to all who have participated.  This campaign has been a huge success not only in funding, but also helping us to start a community around KeyMouse.

Now it's time for us to make this real.  We look forward to getting KeyMouse into your hands, literally.  More updates coming soon on our progress.

-The KeyMouse Team

Posted by on in General

We're working on an updated design to address many of the requests users have had.  We're still refining the shape and positioning over the next few days.  I'm showing you what we have so far as a 3D solid model so you can see the direction we're moving with KeyMouse (pictures below).  This model matches the "New Key Layout" posted in update #5.  Once we refine this updated design, we'll create functioning prototypes (followed by production if all looks and feels good):

  • Bigger keys for easier typing (including Function keys and thumb buttons).  This is the #1 request we've received so far.
  • Cherry MX mechanical switches (with Backlighting)
  • Columnar key layout - keycaps are more uniform in shape and size and can be re-arranged more easily.  Allows us to address additional key layouts such as DVORAK and international layouts better.  Also allows better alignment for number pad area (used with "Num Shift", NumLock)
  • Key caps are custom - slightly smaller size than standard Cherry caps so the device doesn't get too big (but still bigger than the keys on our first prototype).  Printed key sets for common layouts, and blank keys will be available on our site when they are ready.
  • Angle of main key area slopes slightly more for more comfortable typing angle
  • Bigger mouse buttons
  • Bigger mouse wheel
  • CTRL, WIN, ALT are moved down into the main key area for more familiarity
  • Wrist rest is raised a little more for more relaxed reach of keys.  We're still working on the interchangeable palm/wrist rest portion for different sized hands, and are also looking at a possible option to have the wrist rest completely removed for those who want their wrist on the mouse pad.  There will be mount points on the devices, and we plan to open source the 3D models of the palm/wrist rest so users can create their own if they choose.
  • Secondary Mouse Click button at tip of thumb for those who want to click with thumb instead of using trigger action of index finger to click (also reprogrammable).
  • Devices will have embedded USB hub so you can plug right side into computer, and then left side into right side (or vice versa) for when you use USB.  No cables needed if you want to use Bluetooth.
  • Additional key next to space bar
  • Palm rest conforms better to hand shape
  • Laser sensor has been moved directly under the index finger for more intuitive mouse movement
  • Overall devices are slightly bigger, but we are very conscious of weight and size working to make it as light as possible, and as compact as possible and still be fluent for typing.

-The KeyMouse Team

Posted by on in General

Here is a brief example of using KeyMouse for 3D Model rotation.  We're using the left KeyMouse to rotate the model, and the right KeyMouse is free to move the mouse cursor at the same time.  We will be creating more features like this in the software for pinch/zoom/panning, etc.

 

This is very preliminary so more features will be coming (smoother rotation, etc.)

 

Posted by on in General

Thank you so much for your support of the KeyMouse project, and believing in us and our idea. We just met our funding goal today!  Time to celebrate :)

With your help, we are now prepared to take this to the next phases.  We look forward to making KeyMouse a reality.  Thanks again for helping us to make it happen.

-The KeyMouse Team

Posted by on in General

We are working on the new prototypes with the switches changed to Cherry MX.

This is the key layout we are planning to use:

Note: Fn Yellow is
Note: Fn Yellow is "Number Shift" and Fn Blue is "Arrow Shift"

This layout allows us to make the keys bigger, which is important to be able to type comfortably. The keycaps are more uniform in shape and size, which will make it easier for us to offer alternative key layouts.  

We'll post an updated design for the new prototypes as soon as we have it.

Posted by on in General

Due to your helpful feedback, we're making KeyMouse even better!  We met with the design & engineering teams yesterday and today to verify we are able to put these features in and stay on schedule.  Here's the list of changes we're making to KeyMouse:

  • Adding USB for lower latency and charging the battery (now you have both USB and Bluetooth interfaces).  Previously this was under consideration, but now it's certain we will have it.
  • Battery is now Rechargeable Li-Ion (no more AA batteries...battery life will not be the same as AA, but just plug in to charge by USB or use USB with no need for batteries). 
  • We're adding backlit keys - primarily to be used when USB is plugged in.
  • Adding Diodes on every key (N-key rollover & Anti-ghosting)
  • We're switching to mechanical Cherry MX brown key switches.  Advantages include: bigger keys - the #1 requested feature from users that have tried the device. Easier to type on.  More open support for DVORAK and alternate layouts such as international (you can replace the key caps with standard Cherry MX key caps now, or rearrange them).  Longer key life.  Typing on number pad (using "Num Shift" or "Num Lock" will be much better.  To keep the device compact, typing some characters will need to be done with a Function or Shift key, since we didn't want to make the device huge to accommodate bigger keys.  
  • We are working on a compound curved key surface - which means it curves both horizontally and vertically to be even more ergonomic. It's a challenge to achieve this, but we feel it will be worth it.
  • Bigger F1 - F12 keys.
  • Bigger thumb buttons / re-arranged thumb buttons - we're working on a configuration in the thumb area that makes it easier to access the thumb buttons and bigger so they are easier to push.
  • Linux driver/software is on roadmap (instead of in consideration). Now we will support Windows, Mac, and Linux, although it will be created after Windows and Mac drivers/software.  We are under consideration to open source the Linux driver.
  • We are angling the device slightly more for better ergonomics and comfort in how your hand rests on the device.
  • Adding texture to palm/wrist rest that will help avoid sweating
  • Bigger mouse buttons
  • Bigger mouse wheel

We are still on schedule and working hard to provide an updated design by the end of January and finish our new prototypes by the end of February.

We'll keep you posted on our progress.

-Heber

Thank you everyone for your valuable feedback both here on KickStarter as well as at the CES show.  We had a great response from users at CES with lots of excitement about KeyMouse as well as lots of feedback for improvements.

This is our full time focus and there are several teams working on this project with us.  We are in meetings with both the design & engineering teams to discuss the feature requests and the timeline. Our priority is to get a quality product to market on time, so some of your new feature requests will need to wait for a future version of KeyMouse.  We will post a new update soon with more details on design tweaks and additional features we will be implementing.

Thank You,
Heber

 

Posted by on in General

Hello Everyone,
We had a great day at CES today!  We received lots of positive comments from people that stopped by our booth, as well as feedback on ways we can improve KeyMouse.  We welcome any feedback that can help us make it better.

We've created a page that will allow you to vote on your favorite feature requests, as well as adding your own feature requests.  This voting will help us to prioritize the feedback we are receiving based on your votes.

Vote here: http://keymouse.uservoice.com/

Thank you,
Heber

Posted by on in General

Thank you everyone for your support!  We're currently preparing for the CES 2015 trade show in Las Vegas (http://www.cesweb.org/).  We're excited to exhibit our prototypes, as well as collecting your feedback.  The prototypes we are showing are our first version prototypes, and we will be improving the design based on your input.  The show is January 6-9.  If any of you need free tickets to CES, just let us know, and we will send you an invitation.

-Heber