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An Open Source Analog Keyboard with Adaptive Typing AI.
An Open Source Analog Keyboard with Adaptive Typing AI.
1,175 backers pledged $218,604 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Keystone — The Future of Mechanical Keyboards

$218,604

1,175

Keyboards should do more to help you type. Generic models look cheap, lack modern features, and wear down easily — they’re passive plastic bricks. Your next keyboard should actively work with you to improve speed, performance, and accuracy. It should use AI to augment your typing style, offer per-key analog control in games, and contain the absolute best technology available.

Input Club’s Keystone brings the future to your desk. Comfort, durability, and beauty complement its compatibility with all major operating systems. Keystone will grant you precise control and usher in a new era of keyboarding.

  • Full-Size or Tenkeyless physical layout, ANSI-US only
  • SILO Tactile, SILO Linear, and optional Clicky SILO Beam Spring switches
  • NKRO, magnetic (Hall Effect) sensing
  • Per-key HD Analog Control — fine movement in games and apps
  • Adaptive Typing AI — modifies activation point based on your hands
  • Per-key custom RGB lighting and animations
  • Programmable Open Source firmware
  • Optional doubleshot PBT shine-through keycaps in Cherry profile
  • Prototype dimensions (Full-Size): 460mm L x 144mm W x 38mm H
  • Prototype weight: 1500g

The Input Club Keystone Mechanical Keyboard is an unparalleled leap forward in typing and gaming technology. It combines two new features — High Definition Analog Control and per-key Hall Effect (magnetic) sensing — for supreme performance. Put simply, each key can indicate how far it has been pressed down. This pressure sensitivity enables remarkable flexibility in games, artistic programs, and general computing tasks. Its underlying hot-swap SILO switches allow for near-infinite customization, billion-press durability (20x the industry standard), and HD Analog Control for everyone.

Fully programmable Open Source firmware and advanced RGB lighting help the Keystone stand out. We expect this technology stack (and open source adaptations) to show up in all high-quality keyboards over the next few years.


Hall Effect switches use magnetic field strength to track key movement. This is substantially better than traditional bent-metal contacts in every way. You can adjust how far a key must be pressed to output a letter, sense a key like an analog game controller stick, and gain better overall physical performance (see this technical document from Honeywell, an original patent holder). You can even have an action tied to a half-press or bottom out — anything in between works too!

Low friction Hall Effect switches can last for billions of presses. Their astonishing longevity and smoothness can be traced to one design element: the lack of physical electrical contacts, which continuously degrade in normal switches. Cost, old sensor designs, and lack of innovation kept Hall Effect switches out of modern keyboards until a few months ago. A few vintage keyboards used limited implementations of the tech in mission critical computers, but that’s about it.


Hot-swappable SILO switches make it easy to change your keyboard’s sound and feel. They’re contactless, so you can pull them out and replace them with different SILO switches at will. There’s no real limit to the number of times you can swap between switches — this is a significant advantage over delicate contact based hot-swap sockets.

Linear (Red Slider), Quiet Tactile (Tan Slider), and Clicky Beam Spring (Blue Slider) switches will be available — to see a visual representation of our prototypes’ feel, check out their force curves on Kono’s Keystone page. Please note that we’re targeting light to medium spring resistance numbers; there will be some adjustments. SILO switches support Cherry MX-mount keycaps from all manufacturers. You will configure your Keystone and select your switch on Kono Store after the campaign closes. If you’re not sure which one to get, take a look at this short guide to switch selection.

Silo Magnetic Mechanical Switches
Silo Magnetic Mechanical Switches

Analog tech offers a better, more feature rich future. Standard keyboards use digital sensing, which results in an ON or OFF signal (1 or 0). Analog technology is more like a gas pedal — it reads every position between those extremes. CAD applications, games involving movement, and drone controls are just a few of the infinite applications of analog technology. Our Open Source firmware means that the Keystone can be adapted to practically any purpose, which is why it’s so groundbreaking.

We expect video games to receive the most immediate attention. Console games make heavy use of analog input for variable movement, which hasn’t always translated well to mouse and keyboard setups. Most PC gamers have been stuck with digital input — a fairly unnatural way to play (like a toggle for run, or pressing the W key multiple times to move at less than full speed). The Keystone’s analog switches do away with that jittery movement while outperforming existing analog tech across the board.

Artists, creators, and engineers also have an opportunity to engage with HD Analog Control. An API extension would allow brush size changes, variable timeline scrolling speeds, and 3D object control. Analog keyboards will make pressure-sensitive input accessible for the first time, unlocking a new world of human-computer interaction. We’ve created a few powerful use cases, but the most important thing we’re doing with the Keystone is open sourcing its software code so anyone can build on our work.

Adaptive Typing AI offers significant comfort improvements for typists. Everyone has different wrist, hand, and finger sizes — even when comparing their own appendages. The Keystone keeps track of how hard and far you tend to press each key using HD Analog Sensing. After a few hundred presses, your keyboard can automatically tweak how far you need to push a key down before sending a signal to your computer.

This accounts for all typing styles, whether you bottom out or float over the keys, and puts less stress on non-central fingers like the pinky. It will also sync well with AI-Driven Autocomplete systems; you could hold a key down to complete a word or sentence once those integrations become more common.


Video games allow us to interact with the digital world in ways that delight and amaze us. Unfortunately, interface hardware tends to have frustrating limitations that ruin immersion — the ability to shift your mind into a game’s reality. Analog keyboards remove many of those pain points. Analog keys can control player speed, intuitively stack build options in games like Fortnite, or control stand/crouch/prone positions via a single key. The tech offers so many benefits that digital keyboards will inevitably die out (at least for gamers).  


Artists and creators always struggle with computers. Countless peripherals attempt to address input limitations, but none of them really add value to the base keyboard and mouse system. Tablets and other devices are useful, but macros and hand movements are still a unique mess across most professional software suites.

Input Club creates programmable keyboards, like the Keystone, to ensure that any key can be assigned any function or macro on multiple layers. The Keystone expands those capabilities with analog control. Creating a layer for your program can be useful, but half-hold macros and pressure-sensitive brush sizing (or playhead scrubbing) keys are entirely possible. This simplifies workflow and brings you closer to your end product.

Our team of keyboard enthusiasts is dedicated to pushing the keyboard industry forward, and we’ve been doing so for the last 4 years with Kono Store (our distributor). We released and shipped two Kickstarters — Kira and WhiteFox — which led us to Keystone.

This is the keyboard that we’ve been waiting to make; it’s the reason we formed Input Club. Our work with Kaihua (Kailh), a major switch manufacturer, connected us with the factories, engineering resources, and economies of scale necessary to make Keystone. Analog has always been our moonshot. We finally have enough experience to make a graceful landing.

Much of our keyboard technology is built on the Open Source Keyboard Layout Language (KLL) invented by Jacob Alexander. This software was designed with Analog Sensing in mind. It uses a “Trigger-Release” architecture to send complex signals to your computer. 

Jacob, known throughout the keyboard community as HaaTa, has developed a reputation for having the largest keyboard collection in the world. Analysis of more than 400 historical keyboards led us to the best technologies and design elements from the past, which we then incorporated into Keystone. You can learn more about our team’s character and credentials in the Gizmodo video below:

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New to the Keystone is a software platform we call HID-IO. HID-IO is a software tool that works like a keyring for your keyboard. You can plug different modules into HID-IO and instantly have a layout optimized for German or French — it will also handle some of the analog communications from Keystone. HID-IO will make it much easier to interface with different games and applications (like Photoshop or AutoCAD) as well. We still have quite a bit of development to go before HID-IO is ready — if you’re interested in contributing, please contact us on our Github Account.

Our team intends to make the Keystone as customizable and affordable as possible, so we made certain design choices like an injection molded upper case. The Keystone will come in two size variations: Full Size (Standard) and the shorter Tenkeyless (TKL) that has no number pad. You must select your desired switch — clean linears, smooth tactiles, or (as an add on to one of these options) legendary clicky beam springs — on Kono Store after the campaign closes. (Note: Beam Springs require further life-cycle testing and must be purchased as an add-on.) A voucher and instructions will be sent to your Kickstarter backer email address once preparations are complete and funding arrives.


By default, the Keystone will ship with shine-through ABS keycaps. We polled the community before launching the project and received considerable demand for backlit PBT Doubleshot keycaps as an option. Upgrade to a set of these wonderful wear resistant Cherry MX-compatible keycaps for $25 through our backer rewards.

PBT Backlit Doubleshot Keycaps
PBT Backlit Doubleshot Keycaps

The SILO Beam Spring switch deserves several paragraphs of its own — it's our reimagining of a classic clicky mechanism that was used by keyboards in the 1970s. It is highly prized by typists both then and now. Collectors seeking out Beam Spring keyboards for their feel and sound frequently pay over $1000 per keyboard, despite them having unusual layouts and bulky cases. Our challenge was to retain as much of that keyswitch feel as possible while reducing the switch into a much smaller, more modern enclosure. Furthermore, we are also modifying the design to use Hall Effect sensing — no easy feat given the complexity of the mechanism. While we’ve made great strides towards accomplishing this, and even have prototypes, there’s still some work to be done. We need to further refine the keyfeel and perform thorough longevity testing, as the mechanism must be durable.

Silo Beam Spring Switches
Silo Beam Spring Switches

If you would like Beam Spring switches, you must add $39 to your pledge and agree to receive your keyboard with one of the other switch options in February 2020 — SILO Beam switches are expected to arrive in July 2020. We are making some bold claims about the lifespan of our new SILO switches, so we need the additional time to make sure the satisfying click lasts long enough. We are only able to test SILO Beam switches 10 times per second. If we exceed that, the spring doesn’t have enough time to reset to a proper elastic stress position and operates out of spec. We began testing a few months ago, but 1 billion seconds is 31 years, so to get anywhere remotely close to where we need to be will take at least a year.

Beyond the switches, the Keystone is also an incredibly capable keyboard. It is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It has N-Key Rollover for extremely fast typing, and has perfect latency for gaming and eSports. It's designed to plug in and work out of the box; only its program/game-specific analog features and firmware programming require additional installations. Once your keyboard is set up how you want it, you can move it between computers without losing your settings — everything is stored onboard. The software is Open Source, so if a function isn't present you can request it on Github. Our community of contributing engineers will look it over and may add it to their to-do list.

We designed the Keystone case with community customs in mind. On popular forums like /r/mechanicalkeyboards, Geekhack, and the newer keyboard community Keebtalk, aftermarket cases for well designed keyboards are incredibly popular. We wanted to make certain that the Keystone could be easily disassembled and incorporated into enthusiast level products. We will be collaborating with select designers such as Ryan Norbauer to make Keystone technology a driving force behind all of the best mechanical keyboard mods.

Risks and challenges

During the past year, tariff rates between China and the US have been unpredictable. We are currently working with the best available information, but we are susceptible to major shifts in the global economy.

Though we have successfully shipped several Mechanical Keyboard Kickstarter Campaigns, we are a very small startup. We do not have sufficient infrastructure to match the service level of a company like Apple or Amazon, though this is often expected of us. We may reply slowly and take some time to handle support tasks; it is safe to say, however, that you will always get a reply and we will always help. Please expect to follow along with our weekly updates (and possibly be quite patient) while we attempt to actualize the future of keyboards.

We also have a significant quantity of software to develop for the Keystone and for HID-IO. Rough versions of the software work; the keyboard types and performs Analog Sensing. A sleek UI has not been completed at this time. A serious amount of work will be necessary to get this aspect of the keyboard ready for reviewer prototypes.

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Environmental commitments

Visit our Environmental Resources Center to learn how Kickstarter encourages sustainable practices.

Long-lasting design

We've designed our board to be future-proof and easily user repairable. None of our switches even make electrical contact with the PCB at all, meaning we have a truly hot-swappable switch (with incredible durability) that anyone can replace easily. Hall effect magnetic field sensing has infinite "resolution" and intense durability meaning that it will not be surpassed for the foreseeable future.

Something else

In attempting to keep our technology as long-lasting as possible, we have open sourced our firmware so that we and the community can make improvements and additions over time.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Shine-Through PBT Keycaps

    These beautiful shine-through PBT keycaps are doubleshot and Cherry MX compatible! Take your Keystone to the next level with these incredibly durable and oil-resistant keycaps.

    Includes:
    • 1x Set of Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
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    11 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 39 or more About US$ 39

    Beam Spring Analog Switches (120 ct.)

    History meets the future with these groundbreakingly satisfying clicky analog switches. With the Keystone's simple switch swappability, these switches will be simple and quick to install for any user.

    These beam spring switches are to be released on a later timeline than the Keystone.

    Includes:
    • 1x 120 ct. SILO Beam Spring Switches
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    28 backers
    $

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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 99 or more About US$ 99

    EARLY: Keystone TKL - RGB LED

    EARLY BIRD ONLY - Only $99 for the first 250 Backers! To add PBT ($25) or Beam Springs ($39), add this amount to your pledge and we will address during Backer Survey.

    One 87-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone TKL
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 210 backers
    $

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 129 or more About US$ 129

    LIMITED: Keystone TKL RGB

    One 87-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone TKL
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 164 backers
    $

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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 149 or more About US$ 149

    EARLY: Keystone Standard - RGB LED

    EARLY BIRD ONLY - Only $149 for the first 250 Backers! To add PBT ($25) or Beam Springs ($39), add this amount to your pledge and we will address during Backer Survey.

    One 108-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone Standard
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 198 backers
    $

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 149 or more About US$ 149

    Keystone TKL - RGB LED

    One 87-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone TKL
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    44 backers
    $

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $159 or more About $159

    LIMITED: Keystone Standard - RGB LED

    One 108-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone Standard
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 125 backers
    $

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 174 or more About US$ 174

    Keystone TKL + PBT

    One 87-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign. This will also come with a set of 108 PBT Doubleshot Keycaps.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone TKL
    • 1x Set of Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
    Less
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    26 backers
    $

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 179 or more About US$ 179

    Keystone Standard - RGB LED

    One 108-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone Standard
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    20 backers
    $

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 188 or more About US$ 188

    Keystone TKL + Beam Spring Switches

    One 87-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign. This also will come with a separate set of 120x Clicky Beam Spring switches.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone TKL
    • 1x 120 ct. SILO Beam Spring Switches
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    35 backers
    $

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 203 or more About US$ 203

    Keystone TKL + Beam Springs + PBT

    One 87-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign. This also will come with a separate set of 120x Clicky Beam Spring switches and a set of 108 PBT Keycaps.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone TKL
    • 1x 120 ct. SILO Beam Spring Switches
    • 1x Set of Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    130 backers
    $

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 204 or more About US$ 204

    Keystone Standard + PBT

    One 108-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign. This will also come with a set of 108 PBT Doubleshot Keycaps.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone Standard
    • 1x Set of Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    39 backers
    $

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 218 or more About US$ 218

    Keystone Standard + Beam Spring Switches

    One 108-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign. This also will come with a separate set of 120x Clicky Beam Spring switches.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone Standard
    • 1x 120 ct. SILO Beam Spring Switches
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    15 backers
    $

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 243 or more About US$ 243

    Keystone Standard + Beam Springs + PBT

    One 108-key Keystone Mechanical Keyboard with RGB Backlighting. Switch option (Linear or Tactile) will be chosen after the campaign. This also will come with a separate set of 120x Clicky Beam Spring switches.

    Includes:
    • 1x Keystone Standard
    • 1x 120 ct. SILO Beam Spring Switches
    • 1x Set of Doubleshot PBT Keycaps
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    111 backers
    $

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Funding period

- (30 days)