Model 01 Revision or Model 02 Discussion

I am not sure if this is the correct place for this, but I just wanted to write a few thoughts about what the future might hold for new products from Keyboardio. Perhaps now that the backlog of orders is almost addressed (or is it?), either variations of the Model 01 or a new version altogether can be designed.

Personally, I’m much more of a fan of linear keyswitches, and would like to see a future Keyboardio come out that has linear switches. I’m almost tempted to try replacing the keyswitches myself, but I’ll probably at least wait until my Model 01 is out of warranty.

Second, I know that this might not be a universal opinion as one of the appeals of the Model 01 might be its minimalism, but I’d like to see a future version of the keyboard come out that has more keyswitches - particularly more inner thumb switches that would be useful for those with smaller hands. I’m a fan of programmable 68 key keyboards that are compact but have an extra column on the right and dedicated arrow keys. Perhaps it would be possible to also add another outer column of keys that would allow the keyboard to have dedicated cursor keys or at least have the ability to more closely emulate the layout of traditional keyboards which might make it easier for many people to get used to.

I’m not sure how feasible this is, but I’d also like to see the design get a bit thinner, or at least have tapered wrist rests to address concerns about it being uncomfortable when wearing a watch.

Perhaps by the time a new Keyboardio product comes out, perhaps it’ll also be possible to have a processor/SOC with more memory as well - although the current constraints have certainly helped to teach me how to write efficient C++!

All great points. My question is simple: once I retrain myself in the Model 01, will there be an adequate supply of them to last me ten years? I want to avoid what happened to Datahand.

We certainly hope so. That said, the technology behind the Model 01 is significantly more ‘standard’ than the technology behind the DataHand. If we weren’t around and someone wanted to clone our keyboard, they’d have a much easier time of it.


What makes Keyboardio Keyboardio, what is essential? I would say the beautiful wood case, the ergonomth layout of the keys, the curviness, and the sculpted key caps. That is what makes people say to me “I love your keyboard, is that custom-made?”

So I don’t think the model 2 should be plastic, or square. I bet someone else will make a lightweight portable vaguely butterfly-shaped keyboard—so you guys don’t have to. I only have two, so I hope vero keyboardios will still be around in a year or two when I’m ready to buy my third.

  1. I can’t use the function keys the way they are intended to be used because of the size and shape of my hand (I curl my thumbs in a little to reach them with my thumb tips); I think it would be nice if there were two sizes of keyboard, to fit a larger range of hand sizes better, or maybe moveable function keys?

  2. Velvet-lined “instrument” cases, for portability.

  3. An SD card reader built in to the keyboard. It would be handy to quickly switch my work keyboard to a different layout.

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It should be possible to just create multiple layouts in the firmware and mac a macro key that can switch between them. This is essentially how numlock already works.

Yes but that layer-switching key is a key I’m already using for other things!

Maybe more memory and some extra keys outside of the ergonomth range, as you suggest, is a better solution.

You could make it any key you like, even on another layer…
I’m sure there are others around here who have done things like this. I’ve dabbled with something vaguely like this on an tada68 where I have several layers that I can use to switch it between mac and windows modes, for instance, but I haven’t done this on a keyboardio yet.

The main item on my wish list would be four extra keys on each hand (under ZXCV M,./), which would be equivalent to the fifth row of keys on a Kinesis or ErgoDox. This would have two main advantages: 1. It would be more “standard”, making migration between ergo keyboards easier for the end user and 2. It would relieve the keycap scarcity that forces us to put commonly-used keycodes (such as arrows, home/end, brackets etc) in the Fn layer.


I feel the same way… I think the keyboardio could do with more keys in the bottom row to make it more familiar not just to users of ergo keyboards, but to allow layouts more similar to standard keyboard layouts as well.

This would just allow for much more flexibility for users to configure keys for the way they want to use a keyboard. Other than slightly increased production costs, I don’t see too many drawbacks. There seems to be room.

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I just started migrating my common ErgoDox and Planck keymap to the M01. The bottom row is exactly what I am missing on the M01, too.
On the other keyboards, I assigned a lot of extra functionality to those keys. Some of those bottom row keys are heavily loaded with multi taps that I e.g. use (cut, copy, paste, …) when I operate the mouse with the right hand.

Currently I am trying to shift the functionality I originally assigned to the other keyboards’ bottom row to the M01’s number row. Unfortunately, this is not as comfortable as my hands have to cross the whole keyboard. I still hope to find a key layout that I could use on all three keyboards. But both, ErgoDox and Planck are lacking (reachable) thumb keys. Thus, any functionality that I assign to the M01’s four additional thumb keys must be placed somewhere else on the other keyboards. But that is definitely not the M01’s fault :wink:

As I never use the number row, I could do without it (if replaced by an additional bottom row). I thought about shifting the home row up by one to obtain a configuration that is similar to the Planck. But this is not possible due to the M01’s custom sculptured keys and the relative placement of its thumb keys.

In the interest of offering a contrary opinion: I really love the fact that the Keyboardio only has 64 keys and that I’ve got the Fn layer. I migrated over from the Maltron (which I used for 20 years!) and I love the fact that I don’t have to move my hands as much to do things like hit the bottom row of keys or use arrow keys etc. I’m continuing to refine what’s on the Fn layer so that it’s more comfortable and natural and, honestly, I wish that the innermost columns (LED/Tab/Esc and Any/Enter/Butterfly) weren’t there so the 5 and 6 rows are easier to hit without overshooting.

I guess everyone has their prefs :slight_smile:


I’m in the same camp. Mind you, even on my ErgoDox EZ, I stopped using the bottom row a good while ago. I’m loving that my hands have to move very, very little, if at all. I’d rather switch layers than move hands, even if that takes longer, because to me, it feels more comfortable. And comfort is one of the primary reasons I treated myself to a Model01.

But alas, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to keyboards :slight_smile:


@algernon to riff on the comfort angle a bit: When I first got my Keyboardio in December I tried learning it in straight up QWERTY mode and even after I got up to a reasonable WPM speed I found that I was just unhappy because it was so uncomfortable, especially due to the huge number of single finger digraphs. The initial port of the Malt layout to Keyboardio was easier than I thought it would be and I’m still about 99% done with it–since I started using it full-time at work and home last week I’ve started to find a few more refinements I can make to make the layout even more comfortable.

And since I switch from Mac to Windows all the time, it’s so so so nice to tweak my layout in the firmware and not fight the OS.

tl;dr: comfort FTW!

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I get not wanting to move your hands much - that’s something I like about the Model 01 as well, although there are a few keys I have to move to hit.

On the other hand, I guess you wouldn’t have to use all the keys if a subsequent version added more!

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Another small thing - for me the escape and butterfly keys are thumb keys rather than finger keys. I understand this is not the case for everyone, but a slightly more rounded shape on those keys to make thumb use more comfortable might be nice.

Also, it has been noted on other threads that the home locating dots are uncomfortable for some people. Many modern keyboards have the locating dots on the bottom edge of the keys rather than in the middle, presumably for this reason.

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<columbo>oh, one more thing…</columbo>

The finger keycaps on the Model01 stand a good distance proud of the keyboard surface - some well over a centimetre - but their distance of travel is comparatively small, only a few mm. The thumb and palm keys are much more low profile by comparison. This has two effects: 1. the fingers are held quite high relative to the thumbs, especially when compared with kinesis/maltron where the fingertips rest lower than the thumbs; and 2. the total thickness of the keyboard is large, which affects ease of storage and transport. It should be possible to shave several mm of depth off every finger keycap without affecting the mechanical properties. This should marginally increase comfort (or at least not decrease it) and significantly increase portability.

I have one very easy feature request for enhanced ergonomics. I wish that the USB C port was in a different location. Everything I have seen about keyboard comfort indicates that negative tilt will give the most natural typing experience (I’ve seen Jesse mention this several times too, so I know he is a fan of this). A low-tech solution would simply require a block or something similar to raise the front side of the keyboard. But because the USB C port is on the back of the keyboard, and near the bottom for that matter, I can’t tilt very far without putting a lot of strain on the port.

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@JDH that’s a good point. I have sometimes been annoyed, when working on a small desk, that I can’t push the keyboard back far enough - because the usb-c connector bumps up against the front edge of my laptop. If the usb-c port was somewhere closer to the centre bar I suspect both our problems would be solved.

I’ve got some right-angle USB-C connector cables that would probably help, but they’re still fairly bulky. There isn’t really an obvious place to put the connector where it isn’t likely to be in the way for some use case. It could be recessed in the case, with a channel for the cable, with more than one exit path, like a lot of old keyboards, but that presents usage problems, too…

.oO(Wireless…) or a wireless+usb combo, use whichever you like.