Designed to make technology accessible but also desirable, the iF Design Award-winning Braille Computer from Hangzhou DesignDo Innovation brings the sleek design language of modern consumer technology products and introduces it to special-needs design. The computer works like any standard desktop or laptop and supports regular desktop and mobile operating systems and programs like note-taking software, mail software, e-book readers, and even internet browsers. The all-in-one computer comes with a keyboard for input on the top, and a dynamic braille display at the bottom that lets users read what’s on their screen, one line at a time. Joysticks on the left and right let users navigate through their computer too, allowing them to switch between apps, open files, and even scroll across documents and pages!
The Braille Computer’s design noticeably deviates from the design DNA of other computers for the visually impaired. Designed for functionality but also made to look and ‘feel’ desirable, the computer is small, portable, sleek, and features a satin-finish metallic body that looks and feels great to the touch, combined with concave-capped keys that make typing on the Braille Computer an absolute breeze! Designed with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in, the computer can even connect to other peripherals, bridging the gap between consumer tech and special-needs tech!
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Aside from the fact that it’s horizontal rather than vertical, this custom keyboard is the spitting image of Photoshop’s toolbar. Just casually place it in front of you either above your external keyboard or below your laptop keyboard and you’ve essentially got yourself a powerful set of Photoshop shortcuts, complete with Photoshop’s iconography for good measure. You can find all of Photoshop’s commonly used tools in the key-layout, along with quick-access keys for undoing and redoing, as well as for saving and opening files. There are even custom-mappable knobs for controlling features such as brush sizes, hardness, or even for zooming in/out. The keyboard can be mapped as per your requirements, and for people who don’t want something this elongated (that’s not what she said), there’s even a smaller, square-shaped Numpad-esque keyboard with a few extra buttons that unlock more features… and while products like Loupedeck’s Creative Tool exist, it’s nice knowing that this particular variant, created by Etsy-maker 3dDecors, is close to 5 times cheaper.
Forget the MacBook and its Touch Bar, just buy me this slim custom keyboard and I’ll be on my way.
Apple’s quirky patents for a curved-glass iMac aside, there’s a pretty high chance that the new iMac (which Apple’s definitely been working on) will be based on a design that Apple’s developed and worked on before, rather than something as radical as a singular piece of glass with a built-in keyboard. Designers at ALTRD think the new iMac’s form factor won’t come as a surprise to people, probably because we’ve seen it before… in Apple’s Pro XDR Display from 2019.
Rather than just being a high-resolution display, ALTRD’s pulled apart the Pro XDR Display and fashioned it into a powerful all-in-one computing system complete with all the ports, a powerful air-cooling system with enlarged air takes that even act as outlets for your speakers, pumping out rich audio to accompany the iMac’s beautiful visuals. The bezels on the front seem a whole lot thinner too, resulting in a device that looks crisp, sleek, and features that really high-end over-engineered hinge at the back for maximum adjustability.
Designed in two sizes, the iMac concepts come with a 24.2-inch screen and a native resolution of 4608‑by‑2592 (218ppi), and a 29.4-inch screen with a native resolution of 5600‑by‑3150 (218ppi)… that’s a lot of thought put into a conceptual product, if you ask me, but ALTRD doesn’t stop there. The iMac concepts are fitted with 10th gen Intel processors, AMD Navi architecture GPU units, and are configured to have a memory as high as 128Gb DDR4, and storage going all the way till 2 terabytes. Sounds to me like overkill, but also like something Apple would probably do!
Here’s the dilemma. I absolutely love tactility. I hate touchscreen keyboards just because they’re so difficult to use, but at the same time, I see a very conscious effort on the part of tech companies to move towards them. It won’t be long before laptops will come with touchscreen keyboards instead of tactile ones (Microsoft’s actually working on one right now), so it’s probably prudent to look into touchscreen keyboards, just because the tech world is undeniably moving towards that future.
The Bastron Glass Touch Smart Keyboard looks great and surely feels futuristic. I’m just not sure if, in the case of people who type a lot for a living, that’s necessarily a good thing. The wired keyboard, measuring at just 0.28 inches in height (that’s thinner than the average smartphone), comes with an aluminum base and a tempered glass upper with the key layout screen-printed onto it. The capacitive touch keyboard does have built-in vibration and audio feedback that chimes in every time you type, but they don’t really replace the joy of key travel and the clicking sound caused by physical keys striking down on a PCB as you type. Where the Bastron really offers something different is in its number pad, which also comes with the ability to transform into a touch-sensitive trackpad. In doing so, the Bastron offers the kind of one-surface productivity you’d get from laptops, but for a desktop. Moreover, I could rally behind the fact that it’s splash-resistant, dust-proof, and can be wiped with a single swoop of a microfiber cloth. That itself may appeal to a certain demographic of people, but it’s a difficult sell to people who still love high-travel, tactile keyboards. Maybe in a future where flat, touchscreen keyboards are more of a norm.
Given that we haven’t seen an iMac Pro redesign since 2015, and that Apple’s just recently issued a couple of patents for a new iMac, it’s safe to say that we may be looking at a redesigned iMac Pro in the near future. The patent image (which can be found at the end of the article) showcases an interesting monolithic take on the all-in-one Macintosh, featuring a slick unibody glass that transitions from screen to keyboard in one grand, singular motion. The screen literally folds downwards as soon as it hits the desk to provide a precipice for a keyboard as well as two track-pads that reside within the glass. All in all, the entire thing looks rather Dali-esque.
This impressively thin form factor allows Apple to isolate the actual computer into a block at the back that helps prop the glass facade up. Complete with a smorgasbord of ports (and that cheesegrater CNC-machined grille that Jony designed exactly a year ago), the grille sits at a slight tilt too, allowing heat to travel outwards and upwards. The new take on the iMac Pro allows Apple to keep its all-in-one desktop computer looking incredibly slim without sacrificing on power and performance. Designed to be a beast of a machine, the iMac Pro features a 24-inch Retina display complete with a glowing Apple logo below it, a FaceID camera module (taken from the iPad Pro) above it, and a unique ambidextrous layout at the very bottom that allows both left and right-handed users to have their own trackpad. A number-pad seems to be missing (even in the patent drawing), but I’d probably guess a simple program would allow users to turn the spare trackpad into a touch-sensitive number pad.
It’s worth remembering that companies usually issue patents to protect intellectual property and to copyright their innovation, and these patents and their subsequent drawings aren’t particularly an indication of any to-be-launched product. However, these publicly available patents do offer an insightful window into the company’s design and innovation process, and the fact that Apple’s been issuing patents for all-glass unibody iPhones all the way back since 2016 proves that this sublime-looking iMac Pro, at least in theory, could be possible… besides, if Apple IS planning on launching something this out-of-the-box, it would be their first radical product redesign since Jony quit the company last year. I have to say that looking at how slick the conceptual iMac Pro’s facade is, Jony would definitely be proud! Until then, I suggest admiring this drop-dead gorgeous, all-glass concept with a grain of salt!
While we have Taika Waititi slamming Apple’s keyboards just moments after winning his Oscar award, here’s a simple wireless concept that does something none of Apple’s products do… It adjusts to your needs.
Meet the Alpha Ergo, a wireless keyboard with a unique design that allows it to alternate between regular and split-keyboard layouts. This unique swiveling action allows you to adjust your keyboard’s design for more ergonomic typing, but that isn’t all. The Alpha Ergo’s seemingly large hinge element also serves as an interface with a touchscreen and dial giving you wide variety of extra functions. You can use the dial and screen to change in-program settings, toggle through options, switch between active apps, or assign pretty much any action to the controls based on which program in. The dial could work as a scope-zoom in a game, or as a volume knob in Spotify, or even a brightness/contrast control in Photoshop. Plus, the hinge’s form does the keyboard a service by propping it up as a slight angle, giving you a better keyboard that’s comfortable, adjustable, and is fitted with everything a power-user is looking for. The only caveat is a missing number pad.
If you want to see form explorations at their best, you better either look at transportation design, or at computer mice. The computer mouse, which has evolved so much since its debut in 1964, still pretty much does the same thing, but has seen improvements in function and evolutions in form that make it a great form-study product. Mice are almost always designed to be ergonomic, but they can be as basic-looking as Apple’s Magic Mouse, to absurd-yet-comfortable like the Logitech MX Vertical, or something completely otherworldly, like the Alienware AV610M.
Admittedly, the name AV610M doesn’t roll off the tongue easily, but the device corresponding to the name looks like an absolute beast. With a form that truly looks like a UFO, complete with wings and even LED lights glowing ominously on the inside, the AV610M lets you dominate your virtual battlefield… with 350-hours of battery time, no less. The rechargeable gaming mouse comes with 7 fully programmable buttons and a 16,000 DIP precision sensor to give you a solid edge over your competition… plus a menacing glowing alien head to constantly remind you that you’re the boss!
This sleek keyboard brings you the nostalgia of the OG keyboards with number pads and a taste of the future with macOS shortcut keys to your Apple set up. The Satechi Bluetooth Extended pad is the key to increasing the productivity of your tech set up and its lightweight build makes it a great traveling companion on work trips too.
With the extended set, the Satechi keyboard brings the functionality of a traditional, fully-functional desktop keyboard to your setup which allows you the flexibility to anchor your ship anywhere you want especially with its slim, compact aluminum build. Be it a MacBook, an iPad or even the iMac with its shortened keyboard, Satechi’s keypad is here to rescue you. Its wireless design makes it easier for it to be portable and is aligned with the Apple aesthetic – no cords, no mess just minimal design with maximum output.
The Satechi extended keyboard comes in silver and space grey so it will match any space. Its battery is charged with the USB-C port which is compatible with most other devices too and limits the accessories you need. Thanks to the in-built Bluetooth system, it does not require a receiver and remains a clean addition to your set up.