Input Club

Open Keyboards with Style

© Lead Image © Bruce Rolff,

© Lead Image © Bruce Rolff,

Article from Issue 201/2017

The open source keyboard community has been hard at work developing high-quality, customizable keyboard firmware.

Many of us spend eight hours or more each day at a keyboard, but keyboards have hardly evolved for decades. However, an open source keyboard community is working not only to change that, but to sell its hardware commercially under the name of Input Club [1]. The result is some of the highest quality, most aesthetic keyboards available today.

Unknown to most people except the participants, the keyboard community has been active for some years, designing and releasing keyboard firmware, printed circuit board schematics, and case designs. Andrew Lekashman, one of the founders of Input Club, lists TMK [2], QMK [3], and EasyAVR [4], as well as Input Club itself [5], as firmware developers. Input Club also develops the Keyboard Layout Language [6] "in the hopes that we could improve the overall user interface device ecosystem," Lekashman adds.

One of the first products released by the keyboard community was the ErgoDox split keyboard (Figure 1) [7], created by Dominic Beauchamp. Although not originally open source, the ErgoDox "gave us insight into the fact that people really wanted open source keyboards," Lekashman says, and a refined version of the ErgoDox has since been released as open hardware by Input Club [8].


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