Moky Puts An Invisible Touchpad On The Keyboard

Either this keyboard is too good to be true, and it is currently only a prototype — so that’s entirely possible. Or it’s a stroke (swipe?) of overdue genius.

The gist: Moky is a rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard with a built in gesture-supporting touchpad that’s located in the same space as the keys — so you don’t need to carry a separate touchpad or mouse. And no, it’s not positioned at the bottom of the keyboard, or to the side. It’s right over the keys. Ergo: you don’t need to make awkward wrist movements to reach it. The design enables scrolling and pinch to zoom in the same place where you type.

How is this trickery possible? The keyboard has embedded Infrared laser sensors at the corners to create a virtual touchpad field which, once triggered, can tell where your fingers are moving, and translate those touchless swipes into navigation. It can even turn slight taps into mouse clicks. Or that’s the pitch.

They say they have a working prototype at this point (demoed in the below video) but it’s still a work in progress. The aim for the finished product is a keyboard that’s 8mm thick.

The design does also still require the user to hold down a key at the bottom of the keyboard to turn the touchpad on, so it’s not entirely touchless. But it’s still a pleasingly efficient-looking use of space. And one that could offer some ergonomic relief for sufferers of traditional keyboard and mouse-induced RSI.

The Korean team behind the prototype is currently raising crowdfunds on Indiegogo to turn their idea into a shipping product, with an estimated release date of this October. They’ve already easily outstripped their original funding goal of $30,000, with almost $55,000 raised at the time of writing — and still more than a month of crowdfunding on their campaign clock. So they’ve clearly pressed a nerve. In a good way.

They say it work with Windows, Mac and Android, supporting a maximum of two-point multitouch. The touchpad element won’t work with iOS — as they note Apple doesn’t (currently) support mouse input on iOS.