Nemeio’s E Ink keyboard lets you customize every key
Nemeio, a new brand under French tech conglomerate LDLC, has taken the concept of a customizable software keyboard to whole new heights. At the annual CES Unveiled showcase here in Las Vegas, the company showed off an E Ink keyboard, which is yet to be officially named, that can be customized key by key. Nemeio imagines the market for such a device includes bilingual travelers or those who cross time zones and language barriers often for work, as well as anyone who’s ever wanted all the power of Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar in a full keyboard interface.
Though many of us now regularly type away on virtual keyboards residing on smartphones, physical real-world keyboards can still be found in the office or in the study at home. But where the digitized keyboard can accommodate various layout and language configurations, you might find yourself having to keep a drawer full of peripherals if you need to switch from QWERTY to AZERTY regularly. The Nemeio changes that by making each key a little electronic ink screen that can be set to a user’s preference in companion software.
The Nemeio keyboard is the brainchild of engineers at France’s LDLC Group. Within its brushed metal housing are 81 mechanical keys, each one rocking an electronic paper screen – similar to those in e-readers. The keys are backlit too, with adjustable levels of brightness.
The input peripheral pairs to a computer, smartphone or even a smart television over Bluetooth, where a software app is used to set and save layout and language profiles. Layouts can be manually activated, or the device can be set to automatically reconfigure the layout depending on the program being used, bringing frequently used shortcuts to the fore in Photoshop, for example.
The internal battery is charged over USB-C, and though we’ve no figures, the electronic ink used to display key characters should only sip at the power reserve so the 304 x 179 x 11 mm (12 x 7 x 0.4 in), 600 g (21 oz) Nemeio keyboard should last a while between top-ups. Next to the charging port is a USB (Type A) port for cabling to hardware or other peripherals – a wired mouse, for example. Navigation buttons also sit on the top edge for swapping instantly between hundreds of stored profiles, and a power switch completes the array.
“The Nemeio keyboard results from multiple needs,” said LDLC’s Laurent Faivre. “It’s happened to us all before: looking for the right key on your keyboard, multiplying combinations without being able to display the right symbol…. This innovative keyboard is adapted to today’s requirements, at a time when we are multiplying our activities and when we must always go faster and faster. Do a search on the web in American [English] and one second later write an email in Mandarin, open up one’s work applications using a single key…. Everything is possible with Nemeio’s keyboard!”
The startup formed to market the Nemeio keyboard reports that the peripheral is not in production yet and will make its way to market upon the successful completion of a crowdfunding campaign in the coming months. It’s not the first electronic ink keyboard we’ve come across, the Sonder broke cover in 2015 and is currently shown as up for pre-order, but the Nemeio could prove a welcome addition to the gadget arsenal for gamers, translators, graphic designers and international business users