This infinitely customizable keyboard only does everything


Sonder Keyboard
We love living in the future.
Photo: Sonder

Keyboards are great for typing numbers and letters and stuff, but don’t they seem a little static sometimes?

This awesome-looking Bluetooth peripheral aims to solve that problem you may or may not actually have, and it does so with a lot of style and a crisp, simple design.

The Sonder keyboard features the 78 keys you’d expect from a standard, keypad-less typer, but the cool part is that about 50 of them include little screens that can show any symbol or icon you want. The website doesn’t have any shots of the software you’d use to do this, but it does have some demo layouts on display. The coolest one in there is a Half-Life 2 set that shows pictures of all of the weapons on the keys. More keyboards could use a Gravity Gun button.

Beyond that, it has a lot of cool potential uses. You could try out an alternate layout like Dvorak without buying a new board or prying up all of your keys to move them around (if that’s even possible). Or multilingual users can have a setting for each language.

We’ve seen adaptive keyboards before. You can snap up an Optimus Popularis, which is a compact number that costs upwards of $1,400. Microsoft prototyped its own version for the UIST Student Contest all the way back in 2010. But Sonder seems like a more appealing option based on the fact that it’s listed at less than a fifth of the price of the Optimus and you can actually, you know, order one.

The list price is $300, but it’s on “sale” for the pre-order for $200. Unfortunately, we have no idea when the gadget will actually be available. We’ve asked Sonder for more details and will update if we receive them.

UPDATE (5:57 p.m.): We’ve heard back from Sonder via e-mail, and they offer the following additional details about how far along production is and how it all works:

Given the insane interest to date from some pretty big names in tech, we will be launching an epic Kickstarter campaign later this year, and will be shipping internationally thereafter.

Our E-ink keyboard adapts intuitively to the user to display any application-specific shortcuts, in addition to any language or custom icons. Later, we will launch an online library where users can freely access and share cool new user-generated content.

With the assistance of NSW Trade & Investment, we are developing our E-ink keyboard and have already commenced pilot production in Sydney and Shenzhen.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.