There are huge advantages to having standardized hardware, but the obvious trade-off is that people with specialized needs will find them wanting for more. In the case of keyboards for example, certain tasks will require more frequent use of some keys, which may not be placed at the optimum position in the standard keyboard layout. That’s why geekhack forum member dmw is working on the Humble Hacker, a keyboard made especially for programmers.
There are many principles guiding the design of the Humble Hacker, including hand separation, versatility – the keyboard is fully programmable – and an alternate keyboard layout. Programmers and keyboard enthusiasts, if you recognize some elements in the Humble Hacker that are similar to other alternative keyboards, that’s because dmw was influenced by the best of them, including the TypeMatrix 2030 and the Happy Hacking Pro.
Now for the bad news. In the process of building the first prototype of the Humble Hacker, dmw realized that his invention is quite expensive, “rapidly approaching” the price tag of Art Lebedev studio’s display-filled Optimus Maximus keyboard. The case alone cost him $200 (USD), and the circuit board will set him back $250. Hopefully he’ll find a way to lower the cost and mass produce the Happy Hacker. Check out the link below or the product website for more info.