Thursday, April 28, 2011

Engrain Wooden Keyboard Wants to Be Touched

The Engrain keyboard is as individual as the fingerprints that touch it

After sticking seemingly endless textured objects onto the tops of keycaps, designer Michael Roopenian came up with this gorgeous wooden keyboard, called the Engrain. The idea is that — apart from looking damn hot — the individually textured keys make touch typing easier. As each and every key feels different to your fingers, you will always know exactly where your hands are.
The texture was achieved by sandblasting a single plank of wood so its natural grain became more pronounced, and then painstakingly chopping the individual keycaps out and laser-etching the lettering onto them.
This proof-of-concept model has the keycaps glued to the keys of an Apple aluminum keyboard, a suitably cold and minimal contrast to the warm wood, kind of like cold ice cream and hot apple pie. I imagine a purpose built version, without the double height keys, may be easier to actually type on.
Roopenian’s Engrain is likely to remain forever a one-off. A shame, as I could totally see one of them under my iMac screen, sat on my chipped old marble-topped desk.


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