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Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet.
Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet.
Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet.
3,475 backers pledged $580,902 to help bring this project to life.

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Das Keyboard 5Q: The Cloud Connected Keyboard

$580,902

3,475

The World’s First Cloud Connected Keyboard 

Do you think keyboards as input devices only? With this project, we are redefining the way we use keyboards by adding an output function. You can now also use it as a dashboard. Intrigued? Read on.

Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-connected, open API RGB mechanical keyboard that allows each key to be color-controlled over the Internet. It is built with ground-breaking electronics that provide superior RGB LED brightness and unsurpassed response time. Along with the Das Keyboard Q application, the Das Keyboard 5Q makes you more productive by streaming information directly to your keyboard.

Do you often find yourself with millions of browser tabs open, constantly switching context to keep up with project status, weather info, software build statuses, customer quality metrics, stock quotes, websites alarms and even your boss’s urgent emails? Tracking so much information involves a lot of mental context switching. That’s your productivity going down the drain. You’ve known this all along but can’t help it because you just have to be in the know. You are an overachiever and there is absolutely no way even a single piece of information will escape you. Your peers frequently pick your brain because you are the keeper of knowledge. Put simply, you are the one who knows. Period. 

So, are you ready to take your productivity and status to the next level?

The Das Keyboard 5Q is an Output Device

Das Keyboard 5Q is the keyboard of the 21st century.   

The Das Keyboard 5Q is a full size high-performance, high-quality mechanical RGB keyboard that is connected to the Internet. Each RGB LED can be color-controlled remotely to represent a specific piece of information. 

That browser tab that shows your company software build status? Set it on the B key: green means the build passes, red mean it’s a #fail. Is your company customer satisfaction important to you? Set the keys on the number row to display customer satisfaction from 1 to 10 as a bar graph. Get it? You can program any key on the Das Keyboard 5Q to glow the color you want based on the information you define. No more. No less. And that’s what makes the Das Keyboard 5Q different from any other keyboard ever created. It’s not just an input device — it’s also an output device.

Application screenshot: community contributed profiles
Application screenshot: community contributed profiles

Streaming Ambient Information

So while you work on solving rocket science problems on your giant monitor tethered to the latest quadruple octo-core computer, you won’t need to look or click or do anything to know about what’s going on. The information is right there on your keyboard. It is ambient. You see it without even looking at it. Thanks to your peripheral vision, you’re able to see what’s on your desk when you are looking at your monitor. Now you’re able to close all those CPU-wasting browser tabs and actually do some work while information streams out of your Das Keyboard 5Q deep into your enlightened consciousness.

Application screenshot: information update view
Application screenshot: information update view

But my iPhone sends me notifications already?

Of course it does. But we get way too many notifications. The typical smartphone user checks his or her phone 150 times a day on average. Who wants another notification, text message, phone, email or meeting reminder? Notifications are counterproductive because they constantly interrupt and distract from what we are trying to accomplish. Certainly you knew that already, right? They force you to constantly shift your attention, thus slowing down the delivery of the awesome work your boss will be blessed to receive from you.  

So, you want me to look at the keyboard to see the info, right? Isn’t that slowing me down?

Actually, no, you don’t need to look — it’s in your peripheral vision. You see it without looking at it. It’s similar to being in your office and knowing what the weather's like outside without actually having to look out the window.

So let’s recap:

With the Das Keyboard 5Q, the keyboard: 

  • becomes an output device (don’t worry you can still type on it) 
  • becomes a dashboard of glowing colors, with each key or group of keys having a specific meaning to you
Das Keyboard 5Q connected to the cloud
Das Keyboard 5Q connected to the cloud

  

Packed with State of The Art Technology

The Building Blocks of Das Keyboard 5Q Connected Keyboard:  

  • IOT / cloud-connected keyboard with mechanical RGB switches 
  • A Q button: activates the Das Keyboard Q software when pressed, volume knob when turned 
  • The keyboard sports the Das Keyboard Q firmware connected to Q cloud servers via your computer network stack 
  • A desktop REST API to control the keyboard light settings
Das Keyboard 5Q is packed with new technology
Das Keyboard 5Q is packed with new technology

 

Multi-language Rest API

If you are a developer or dabble in Javascript, you can program your Das Keyboard 5Q via a REST API.

We are also preparing a community website where developers will be able to share their open source widgets which can control the keyboard lighting effects any way they want. By contributing to this campaign, you will have early developer access so you can start writing some awesome widgets.

Das Keyboard 5Q REST API example in Node.js
Das Keyboard 5Q REST API example in Node.js

 

A “Q” button? What’s up with that?

You configured your Das Keyboard 5Q numeric keypad to show the progress of your project “New product launch”. But that was 6 months ago and as we speak your keyboard's numeric keypad is gradually changing color from orange to green. Why is the color changing?

 

Picture of the Q button prototype
Picture of the Q button prototype

That’s where the Q button comes in. You push it and that little savant sends a 5 volt discharge to your 32-bit Das Keyboard 5Q CPU, which in turn tells your desktop to display what information is currently streaming from your keyboard. In this very case, it tells you that your “New product launch” project is complete. That’s what the Q button is for. It means “on cue” — but badly spelled.

Tell me about those mechanical switches. My fingers need the best.

Well then, you’ve come to the right keyboard. We have been working closely with Omron, a world-class switch manufacturer located in Japan. It is modern, fast and the tactile feel is incredible. We named it the Gamma-Zulu mechanical switch. 

Picture of Gamma Zulu switch made by Omron
Picture of Gamma Zulu switch made by Omron

It withstands 100 million actuations. It is up to 100% more durable than most competitor switches. And lucky you, we put 104 of them on each keyboard. These babies need 45 grams to do their deed and produce nice tactile feedback. They actuate at 1.5 mm — that’s for speed. The full travel is 3.5mm — that’s for comfort. 

Gamma Zulu switch characteristics
Gamma Zulu switch characteristics

The Gamma Zulu switches have a soft tactile feel comparable to the Cherry MX brown.

Gamma Zulu switch force diagram
Gamma Zulu switch force diagram

Tell me more about that light you mentioned.   

The Das Keyboard 5Q RGB backlighting system is the brightest in the market. The light is clearly visible even in a well-lit office.  

The Gamma Zulu switch sports its LED pipe in its center. Combined with groundbreaking electronics, it makes the RGB LEDs many times brighter than any other RGB keyboard currently on the market. RGB+ Electronics (that's its code name) increase LED efficiency to blinding levels. Furthermore, we use high quality surface-mount (SMT) LEDs, coupled with a diffracting lens and an ultra-clear light guide. 

Picture of a Gamma Zulu switch with translucent core
Picture of a Gamma Zulu switch with translucent core
By partnering with Omron, we created a great switch with modern lighting capability. We think our users will be delighted.


Real-Time One: Fastest analog electronics for fast typists and gamers

Let’s talk numbers. The Das Keyboard 5Q detects a keypress in 0.4 milliseconds and reports it to the computer in 1 millisecond. 99% of mechanical keyboards use an outdated polling system that takes between 20 to 45 milliseconds to report a key to the computer. So, the Das Keyboard 5Q is up to 45 times faster than the keyboard you are using today. We named this technology Real-Time One — or, RTO in short. At its heart, it is an analog technology. If you are a gamer or a fast typist, you understand how important speed is.

Das Keyboard 5Q Technical Specifications

Over-funding Achievement: Aluminium Top Panel Upgrade Unlocked

With the support of all the backers we are happy to announce that we upgrade the Das Keyboard 5Q top panel to aluminium. 


Das Keyboard 5Q sports and aluminium top panel
Das Keyboard 5Q sports and aluminium top panel

 

Hardware 

  • Das Keyboard mechanical switches withstanding 100M actuations - made by Omron, Japan. 
  • Centered SMT RGB Leds 
  • Q button - dual purpose with volume 
  • 3 light pipes: 2 on the sides, and 1 around the Q button 
  • Double-shot key caps for 104-key layout for US 
  • Laser-etched key caps for 105-key layout for UK, Nordic and German (see below for pictures)
  • Tactile bump on F, J, and numeric keypad 5 keys. 
  • Extra-long 6.5 ft (201 cm) braided USB cable with single USB type-A connector 
  • Full-time NKRO over USB for fast typists and gamers 
  • Steel mounting plate
  • UNLOCKED: Aluminium top panel 
  • Detachable palm-rest with magnetic locking system
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux

Das Keyboard 5Q magnetic locking palm-rest
Das Keyboard 5Q magnetic locking palm-rest

 

Software  

  • User upgradable firmware (over the Internet with the Q app) 
  • Native support for Dvorak and Colemak and key remapping (E.g. CapsLock becomes CRTL)
  • Desktop REST Api 
  • Q desktop application 
  • Q cloud software 
  • Q software compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux  

Das Keyboard 5Q Key Technologies

IMPORTANT: Exclusive Innovator Reward Upgrade

The Exclusive Innovator level includes an extra set of transparent key caps. We can't modify the text of the pledge once it is live, so we have to write it here.

$500K Mystery Upgrade Unlocked: WASD Keycaps & More

We have reached our $500K stretch goal

This means we'll be adding WASD keycaps to every 5Q keyboard that we ship at no extra cost. We're also going to be creating translucent, black keycaps in different languages that will only be available for the Hacker++ and Exclusive Innovator rewards as an extra kepcap set. We are doing a survey to find out which languages are the most requested and will pick based off of that. 

FYI, the translucent black keycaps will also be available for purchase after the Das Keyboard 5Q product launches on our online store. 

WASD keycaps (not the actual product)
WASD keycaps (not the actual product)

Using the Das Keyboard 5Q as a Dashboard: Real Life Examples 

Stream Stock Ticker in Real Time 
If you are a hedge fund manager, you have a TV in your office overlooking Manhattan while streaming Wall Street results in real-time.
For the rest of us, there’s the Das Keyboard 5Q. Assign F1 for Google stock and F2 for Facebook and they’ll glow red and green depending on where the market goes.

Application screenshot: Google, Facebook tickers assigned to F1 and F2: Green means the value is up, red means the value is down.
Application screenshot: Google, Facebook tickers assigned to F1 and F2: Green means the value is up, red means the value is down.

Writing Software? Displaying Software Build Status 
If you are a software developer using a continuous integration system such as Travis or Jenkins, you won’t need to open your browser to know if there is a failing build. Simply configure one or more keys on your Das Keyboard 5Q to glow red if it’s a #fail, or green if all is good. 

CPU monitor: Display CPU Load as Bar Graph 
Some of us are obsessed with our computer CPU activity. Is there a stray process burning cycles for nothing? Configure CPU activity to be displayed as a bar graph on the top row of your Das Keyboard 5Q.

Application screenshot: Q software showing computer CPU activity
Application screenshot: Q software showing computer CPU activity
Project Management: Stream Project Progress 
As scrum master, project manager or a team member, you really want to keep an eye on the progress of your project. That’s where the Das Keyboard 5Q comes in. You see the function keys that are orange? Only 10 are lit up it because there only 10 tasks left to be done before the project is completed. 

Email Management: Don’t Make Your Boss Wait 
Life is so much easier when your boss is happy right? Das Keyboard 5Q can help. Configure the number row to turn red when there are more than 3 emails from your boss waiting in your inbox. 

Application screenshot: Q software showing an information update
Application screenshot: Q software showing an information update
 
Webmaster Dashboard 
The Das Keyboard 5Q can keep an eye on the quality and speed of a website.
As a summary, the Das Keyboard 5Q can stream information from any data source that is accessible from IFTTT, Zapier or has a public API.

Application screenshot: Q software screenshot
Application screenshot: Q software screenshot

 

Keyboard Layouts

We plan to provide US, DE, NO and UK layouts to be installed on the Das Keyboard 5Q at the launch. Here is how they look:

US Layout

104-key US layout. Font not actual.
104-key US layout. Font not actual.

UK Layout

105-key UK layout. Font not actual
105-key UK layout. Font not actual

Nordic (NO) Layout

Nordic (NO) Layout. Font not actual
Nordic (NO) Layout. Font not actual

German (DE) Layout

 

German layout - key shape final - font is not final
German layout - key shape final - font is not final

 

New Translucent, Black Keycaps in Several Languages

An extra set of translucent, black keycaps language options will be available to all Hacker++ and Exclusive Innovative backers: 

  • US English 
  • UK English 
  • German 
  • Nordic (NO) 
  • Italian
  • French
  • Spanish
  • DVORAK (104 keys)
  • Russian Blank (of course) 

These extra keycaps will also be available for purchase on our web store at launch. 

Help Us Shape The Future of Keyboards

With this Kickstarter campaign and with your help, we are redefining the way we use keyboards. First and foremost a keyboard is made for an awesome typing experience. The Das Keyboard 5Q is no exception. 

Furthermore, we were able to add an output function to this keyboard in the most minimalistic way. We can’t wait to see what developers are going to write for the Das Keyboard 5Q open API. 

Picture of the Das Keyboard 5Q prototype
Picture of the Das Keyboard 5Q prototype

 

Follow us on @daskeyboard and www.facebook.com/daskeyboard

Das Keyboard 5Q In The News

 

 

Risks and challenges

Das Keyboard is staffed by a team of experts who have produced keyboards, mice, and other PC components for many decades. We think we have a firm grip on the time table. However, it's possible that our production schedule may shift based on the number of orders we receive.

Das Keyboard strives for honesty and transparency, and if there are any delays or challenges, we will quickly update our community.

The industrial design is completed and we have some early prototypes in hand. We now started working on manufacturing preparations and have partially invested in tooling for mass production.

On the software side, we have released several Q software alpha versions which are visible here in the screenshots.

We still have to improve the software to deliver a perfect and user-friendly application along with its open source community website.

Most of your contributions will go into the injection molding toolings so we can finalize the next round of prototypes and start production. The rest of the funds will go to building an awesome community website where our users will be able to share their software widgets & API scripts.

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    Pledge US$ 1 or more About $1.00

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    Support at any level is appreciated. All supporters will receive project updates.

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    Pledge US$ 19 or more About $19

    I WANT DAS KEYBOARD 5Q SWAG

    Receive 4 awesome Das Keyboard 5Q stickers + a nice Das Keyboard pen. Thank you for your support in bringing it to life. We will give you regular updates on product development.

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    SUPER EARLY BIRD

    SAVE $120 (RETAIL $229) You’ll receive one Das Keyboard 5Q. You are one of the first to join the revolution.

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    EARLY BIRD

    YOU SAVE $90 (RETAIL $229) You’ll receive one Das Keyboard 5Q. You are one of the first to join the revolution.

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    Pledge $159 or more About $159

    KICKSTARTER SPECIAL HACKER

    YOU SAVE $90 (RETAIL $249) You’ll receive one Das Keyboard 5Q. You are one of the first to join the revolution. You also get early access to the Q SDK early in November 2016

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    Pledge $189 or more About $189

    KICKSTARTER SPECIAL HACKER++

    SAVE 90$ (RETAIL $279) You’ll receive one Das Keyboard 5Q. You are one of the first to join the revolution. You also get early access to the Q SDK in early November 2016. Plus, you will receive 1 set of blank translucent clear black keycaps, that is, no inscriptions are visible, they are black when LEDs are OFF, transparent when LEDs are ON. The ultimate setup for badasses.

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    Pledge $270 or more About $270

    KICKSTARTER DUO PACKAGE

    SAVE $188 (RETAIL $458). You’ll receive TWO Das Keyboard 5Qs. You also get early access to the Q SDK in early November 2016. You are one of the first to join the revolution.

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    Pledge $378 or more About $378

    TWO KICKSTARTER SPECIAL HACKER++

    SAVE $178 (RETAIL $556). You’ll receive TWO Das Keyboard 5Q. You also get early access to the Q SDK in early November 2016. Plus, you will receive TWO set of blank translucent clear black keycaps, that is, no inscriptions are visible, they are black when LEDs are OFF, transparent when LEDs are ON. The ultimate setup for badasses.

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    Pledge $650 or more About $650

    KICKSTARTER TEAM PACKAGE

    SAVE $495 (RETAIL $1145) You’ll receive FIVE Das Keyboard 5Qs. You also get early access to the Q SDK in early November 2016. You are one of the first to join the revolution.

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    Pledge $899 or more About $899

    EXCLUSIVE INNOVATOR / DEVELOPER PACKAGE

    Your name will be written in the Das Keyboard 5Q firmware and be visible in the 'about' menu of the Q software. You will receive an early, hand-built, keyboard with beta software [OCT 2016] and one of the first production models [DEC 2016]. Your feedback will play a role in the development of the final product and you will have the ability to start creating amazing experiences using the keyboard Q SDK.

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Funding period

- (30 days)