Let your Fingers Experience the Joy of Dancing on the Kira Keyboard

Can I say, as a writer, gamer, and someone who spends most of his time around a keyboard, there’s a marked difference in productivity between me sitting in front of a desktop, and me on my laptop. The difference? The keyboard. Laptops, made to be thin, have extremely thin keyboards that are A. silent, and B. have very little travel (the distance a key covers when pressed). There also seems to be a lack of standardization as far as key sizes and placement goes, varying from laptop to laptop, and company to company. Switch brands, and you’ll find yourself struggling, because now the Home key is somewhere else, or the arrow keys have a different design.

With a desktop’s external keyboard, the story is completely different. It’s all about productivity… and reveling in the noise. There’s a joy to the tactile and audio feedback of a clickety-clack keyboard, and its curved tops and long travels mean you’re less likely to hit keys accidentally. It was in the pursuit of that very feeling, that the Kira was born. Designed well for all professions that use the keyboard, the Kira is a mechanical fingerjoy for writers and gamers, for recreational use, studio use, and office use. Designed “without compromise”, the Kira is a keyboard that takes Input Club’s mission of designing the world’s best keyboard. Over a year after their previous project the WhiteFox (that garnered 2000 backers on Kickstarter alone), the Kira is a more expanded version of its predecessor, featuring a full number pad and customizable RGB lighting among other features.

What makes Kira so universally wonderful was the fact (and I say this a lot) that it was designed alongside a community of power-users, by a bunch of experts in the field. The result is a keyboard that is marvelously tactile, interactive in the sense that it can light up, and completely customizable in every sense. Not only does the Kira allow you to change and modify keystrokes, deciding what hitting each key will do, you can even physically change your keyboard, swapping keys, and even the mechanical switches underneath, giving you the tactile feedback you need. While some typists may love the tackety-tack sound, gamers care much about actuation force and key travel, or even offices, which prefer mechanical keyboards that are quiet. The Kira lets you hot-swap the switches underneath, letting you choose what sort of sound and feel you want, giving power to its user to use it as they see fit. In fact, they’ve published an extensive guide right here.

The Kira also comes with backlighting, which is something of a rarity in external keyboards. While the keys don’t individually light up, the area between the keys does, giving you a sense of where your fingers are in relation to the layout. The Kira even comes with RGB lighting on the back that you can toggle, washing your table in a soft glow of light, perfect for gamers (and completely customizable).

A cross between extremely functional, extremely nostalgic, and extremely delightful, the Kira was made for your fingers but also your eyes. The RBG lighting adds a much-needed ambiance to your games, while giving you a sense of the keyboard layout, while the keyboard itself is so finger-friendly, I feel like an idiot typing this out on my disgustingly bourgeois laptop keyboard. (Editor’s Note: Laptop keyboards suck, and I hit the backspace key at least 80 times on this article)

Designers: Angelo Tobias & Input Club

Click here to Buy Now: $179.00

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Its unique RGB underglow and custom mechanical switches give you an unmatched typing experience. Kira is fully hardware programmable, which turns any key into a multi-function macro without active software.

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Top Keyboard Features

  • Mechanical Switches
  • Per Key RGB Lighting
  • RGB Underlit Case
  • PBT Dye-Sublimated Keycaps
  • Fully Programmable
  • USB Type C

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Efficient and Durable

Traditional full size keyboards are less space efficient than Kira, which packs all the keys you want into a condensed layout. Its custom keycaps use long-lasting, wear resistant plastic and a printing method that can’t be worn off. They also have a wonderful texture that won’t easily shine or show finger oils. This durable plastic, known as PBT, was proven in keyboards like the IBM Model M. Model M keycaps from the 1980s are still sturdy enough for continuous use today, even after decades of wear.

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Engineered to Last

Membrane keyboards don’t offer the pleasurable typing experience that users have come to expect from mechanical keyboards. Color-coded mechanical keyswitches set Input Club’s mechanical keyboards apart from generic models. Each color corresponds with a unique tactile experience. With that in mind, you can choose the perfect switch for your ergonomic needs. Average keyboards can suffer from reliability issues and force typists to bottom out harshly, which isn’t helpful for long term use.

Input Club’s Hako switches—which our engineers designed—are smooth, self-cleaning, bottom out resistant, and deliciously tactile. They can also last for decades. In the unlikely event that a switch fails, or needs cleaning, hot swap sockets make removal and replacement simple. Every switch on the Kira can be replaced without a single drop of solder, completely changing how it feels.

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Programmability

Kira is fully open source. Its design files will go live on Github after we meet our commitments to backers. Input Club’s programming tools enable complete customization; all layouts and key combinations can be configured at the hardware level. Efficient layouts like Dvorak and Colemak are also within your grasp. Our easy to use online configurator doesn’t require programming knowledge or complex scripting. Its point and click interface is meant for everyone.

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Mechanical Switch Options

We test mechanical switches from many companies all over the world and publish our findings in The Comparative Guide to Mechanical Switches. 

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More Features

  • 99 Key Condensed Full Size Layout
  • Fully Programmable Without Active Software
  • Per Key Configurable RGB Lighting and Underglow
  • Cherry Profile PBT Dye Sublimated Keycaps
  • USB Type C Cable
  • Injection Molded Metallic Plastic or CNC Aluminum Case available in Silver or Black
  • Steel Keyswitch Plate
  • Hot Swappable Switches (Removable without soldering)
  • RGB LED Side Indicator Lights
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac
  • Open Source Hardware

Included Keycaps

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Click here to Buy Now: $179.00

This steampunk 1700s gadget signs your checks for you

This complex smartphone-sized device is a miniaturized iteration of a product first created in 1738, by Pierre Jaquet-Droz. Using a complex series of mechanisms and gears, his entirely mechanical automata could write complete sentences by moving a pen/quill across paper… much to the amazement of European royalty, in whose courts Pierre showed off his mechanical miracles.

Near 300 years later, his company, devoted to creating magical mechanical marvels (primarily watches), decided to recreate “The Writer” as it was called back then. Jaquet-Droz’s Signature Machine is now available for sale, replicating its owner’s signature by using historic cam technology and a complex series of 585 parts, assembled and finished by hand. With a window that lets you look at the complex workings of the machine inside, and an arm that works on X, Y and even Z axes (it has to lift the pen off the paper when it’s done), the Signing Machine is custom made to the signature of its owner and even comes with an engraved plate featuring your signature. Additionally, so that your signature isn’t misused, the Signing Machine even includes a 4-digit security code.

Absolutely exquisite, and limited edition, the Signing Machine is undoubtedly a luxury item with its $367,500 price tag. Why yes, the pen is included.

Designer: Jaquet Droz

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Air purifying technology that’s older than electricity itself!

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This innocuous little artistically presented block is quite remarkable. Sitting on a V-cut wooden stand, the block contains a honeycomb structure, meant to allow air to pass through. Why? Because the Chikuno Cube is an air purifier.

Originally created by Japanese craftsmen four hundred years ago for its purifying properties, the Chikuno Cube is made from a mixture of activated bamboo charcoal and clay, extruded into the honeycomb structure. The clay gives the cube its shape and structure, while the activated charcoal absorbs toxins, harmful gases, traps dirt, eliminates odor, and absorbs or releases moisture depending on the environment. Truly a wonder material, the charcoal cube doesn’t require an exhaust/fan or electricity to operate, and only requires to be kept in the sun for six hours every month or so, to cleanse the cube of toxins, and keep the charcoal “active”. Made in two sizes (the larger one simply employing 4 cubes instead of 1), the Chikuno Cube is made in Kyoto from indigenous bamboo, and also happens to be a winner of the Japanese Good Design Award!

Designer: Chicuno Life

Click Here to Buy Now

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Click Here to Buy Now

When the brief says “design a recliner/rocking chair/hammock”

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Sitting on the Cocoon is a strangely comforting yet new experience. It looks a little revolutionary, no doubt… but sitting on it gives you an experience that’s difficult to actualize in words. Rest your body against it, and it feels like a hammock, with its woven fabric. However, it doesn’t consume you, like a hammock would. Lie down in a hammock, and the fabric gives in to the shape of your body… lie in the Cocoon, and it feels like you’ve still got some lumbar support. It feels more like a recliner than a hammock. And then there’s experience number three. Designed with a curved frame, the Cocoon swings to and fro, unlike a hammock that swings side by side. The Cocoon somehow manages to combine rocking, lounging, and relaxing all into one beautiful seating device perfect for a lazy afternoon with a cup of hot cocoa… as shown above!

The Cocoon is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2018.

Designer: Timmy Kwok

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When the brief says “design a recliner/rocking chair/hammock”

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Sitting on the Cocoon is a strangely comforting yet new experience. It looks a little revolutionary, no doubt… but sitting on it gives you an experience that’s difficult to actualize in words. Rest your body against it, and it feels like a hammock, with its woven fabric. However, it doesn’t consume you, like a hammock would. Lie down in a hammock, and the fabric gives in to the shape of your body… lie in the Cocoon, and it feels like you’ve still got some lumbar support. It feels more like a recliner than a hammock. And then there’s experience number three. Designed with a curved frame, the Cocoon swings to and fro, unlike a hammock that swings side by side. The Cocoon somehow manages to combine rocking, lounging, and relaxing all into one beautiful seating device perfect for a lazy afternoon with a cup of hot cocoa… as shown above!

The Cocoon is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2018.

Designer: Timmy Kwok

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This PSP has its own version of the “notch”

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With ever-expanding screens on phones and disappearing earpieces and home buttons, it only makes sense that you’d see that trend everywhere else. TVs are all screen and no bezel too, and Huawei’s laptop is exploring a similar path too. So it makes sense that the PSP (should Sony choose to release a new version) would do something on the same lines. Yonghwan Kim’s vision for the PSP may, in that regard, be a little too drastic, but it sure looks interesting. Here’s a couple of reasons why it would work, and why it wouldn’t.

First of all, look at that shape. It’s beautiful, with its rounded corners, much like most smartphones today. Even the screen does a bend, curving gently at the top, and with flair at the bottom. There’s no doubt that this PSP would be great to hold for long intervals. Besides being curved at the corners, this PSP is literally all screen. Barring the controls that pop up through the middle, the PSP actually explores a more than 16:10 aspect ratio, so a game feels more cinematic. Look to the bottom and you’ll see two sets of pretty big speakers, allowing you to immerse yourself completely in the game with a large screen and big sound. Nice, ain’t it?

The most obvious con (and mind you, this is just a perception problem) are the way the controls appear through the screen, essentially cutting through the display, causing massive blind spots in the gameplay. From the standpoint of a hardcore gamer (who doesn’t like too much change), this may infuriate you. It makes less sense, and to be fair, is a literal hindrance. However, like any feature, I believe this also just needs getting used to. While the tactile controls pretty much cut into the screen, it would make little to no difference in the gameplay, because your eye tends to operate within the same 16:9 area, so the extra screen to the sides is just to increase one’s periphery and make the game feel immersive. It also isn’t a problem for Sony to execute too, since the PSP eco-system is completely within Sony’s control. They can modify a game’s experience to accommodate the controls sitting within the screen. Aside from this detail, nothing much changes with the PSP as a concept. The controls and their placement remain the same, making sure gamers don’t have to follow a new learning curve, the only update is the fact that the gaming device, like every display-based device you own, is more screen, and less of that bezel we hate so much!

Designer: Yonghwan Kim

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Lamps inspired by movement, designed for movement!

Inspired by an Israeli Dance, the Horah lamps look like they’re molded by the wind. Showcased by Israeli design team Raw Edges at the Milan Design Week, the installation comprises multiple lamp units that are each made of curved glass leaves. Each lamp is a different shape and size. A motor within the lamps gently rotates these beautifully sculpted leaves, making it look like they’re catching a breeze, while giving the entire installation space a feeling of constant movement. The Horah lamps are inspired by a traditional dance of the same name, where people got together in a circle and moved and danced together. That movement in unison is what the Horah aims at capturing, and does quite well! Designed in partnership with Venetian company Wonderglass, Raw Edges aims to move on to turning these lamps from installation pieces to actual products.

On show at Spazio Krizia throughout Milan Design Week, the 30 lamps are dotted across a large platform that curves across the gallery.

Designer: Raw Edges

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In a Parallel Universe Where OS Didn’t Matter, We’d All Use TicPods

You know, I personally don’t really like phrases like “the iPhone Killer” or in this case “the Airpod Killer”. The assumption that something is so good it will kill the competition completely, seems a little far-fetched and unrealistic, but the Red Dot and iF Design Award winning TicPods make a bulletproof case against most wireless earbuds, especially the AirPods.

These tiny truly-wireless earbuds are smart both internally and externally, rivaling those created by massive corporations, customized for their eco-systems (Google, Apple, I’m looking at you). Built for audio, but built for control too, the TicPods come with a touch-sensitive surface that lets you tap, double tap, slide, and long press to control music playback or even run phone functions. Regardless of which eco-system you’re in, the controls work cleverly with music playing apps to manipulate playback, volume, or even answer and reject calls. Long pressing lets you talk to your phone’s voice assistant… regardless of whether you’re an Android or iOS user. This inter-OS approach lets you use the TicPods for years, regardless of what phone you own at the time!

The TicPods come with in-ear detection as well, allowing you to pause music by simply taking any one earpiece out, making them immersive when you need them to be, and cooperative when you need to take a break. They come complete with ambient noise cancellation and noise isolation, making them perfect for use on your daily commute, or even while exercising, given the fact they have an IPx5 water-resistance rating. Built with a whopping 18 hour battery life and fast-charging that gives you close to 3 hours of playtime on a 30 minute charge, the TicPods can sit comfortably in your ears all day, allowing you to travel, work, play, and then work out without breaking a sweat… and what’s truly impressive is that it does all this with an OS agnostic approach. So in a world where you’re chained to your phone’s operating system, and their anti-headphone-jack dictatorial regime, the TicPods (which come at an early bird pricing of $79) are literally music to everyone’s ears!

I wouldn’t call the TicPods an “AirPod killer”, but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if people stopped buying any other wireless earbud in favor of them.

Designer: Mobvoi

Click here to Buy Now: $79.00 $129.00

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Ultra-intuitive touch controls

Try doing that on other earbuds. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Tap-tap. Your audio, your control.

All good things come to those who… press for two seconds.

Smart and seamless. In-ear detection allows TicPods Free to know when you’re listening. Music pauses when you take one earbud out and resumes when you put it back in.


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Click here to Buy Now: $79.00 $129.00

Skyshelter.zip is like a compressed bellow that opens into a skyscraper

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What these designers proposed was ground-breaking enough to win them the Golden Prize at the eVolo Skyscraper Competition 2018. The premise? Instant Skyscrapers. The technique? Compressing them to make them easy to transport, and then expanding them on site.

The Skyshelter.zip is literally the physical manifestation of a zip file. The compressed building gets transported via helicopters to disaster-zones. The zip is as wide as a building, but remains vertically compressed until it’s ready to expand. This compressed building is tethered to the ground to make it secure, and then a load-bearing helium balloon on the top of the building rises upwards, expanding the building like a bellow expands with air. As the balloon rises and the building increases in height, fabric panels used to create the external and internal walls would unfurl rapidly, and 3D printed plates would be lifted in succession by the balloon, creating floors and different zones. Depending on how tall you want the building, you’d fill more gas into the balloon and add more floors.

The Skyshelter would come with a lobby, first-aid bays, temporary housing, a storage unit, and even a vertical farm. What’s incredibly interesting is that while it’s easy and quick to deploy, it can be compressed back too, making it perfect for temporary use on sites that need rehabilitation, and moving on once the job is done!

Designers: Damian Granosik, Jakub Kulisa & Piotr Pańczyk.

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This calendar literally makes your days colorful & vibrant

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Yoni Alter’s Perpetual Calendar is pretty simple. It lasts forever, allowing you to simply rearrange the dates, days, and months periodically… and it’s just simply beautiful to look at. Natural ash plywood and wooden dowels make up the base for the calendar, while individual brightly colored plastic cards with cutouts hang themselves on the dowels. What you see through the cutouts are the cards behind them, getting this overwhelming collage of color, while text is usually extremely legible, thanks to the big bold stencil font used on the cards.

Just change the day and date every 24 hours, taking cards off from the front and putting them at the back, and switch the month card every time a new month begins. The calendar lasts forever, working year after year… bringing joy, color, and vibrancy to your life and your day!

Designer: Yoni Alter

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