Design In Motion. The Uber Keyboard…

Japanese industrial design company Minebea have created the greatest looking piece of computer equipment ever. It’s glossy, has much tech bling, is completely function and it’s a keyboard. The product of legendary designer Dr. Kazuo Kawasaki professor at Osaka University who had been Apple design director in early 1990s – the Cool Leaf will go on retail sale in japan on May 13. English variants of the keyboard will be release in July.

The surface of the keyboard is completely smooth with a mirror finish. When the keyboard is turned on the key labels light up to reveal the keyboards layout, the Leaf springs to life. The display is driven by a backlight which sends light through some very special plastic – light guide – which directs light evenly to the surface. The surface itself is made up of a series of touch sensitive layers, with individual layers using both capacitance and load pressure to detect key presses. The touch surface is able to sense multiple touches at once allowing such Windows classics as CTRL-ALT-DEL – or whats wrong with this damn machine -.

If hygiene is your big thing then this is the ultimate keyboard, being completely flat and water resistant means a quick spray and wipe down and the keyboard is as good as new. Combine this with its stunning looks and great functionality and you quickly realise this is something different, beautiful. At long last the design aesthetics haven’t completely destroyed the devices functionality. The keyboard layout isn’t totally standard and there is no force feedback from the keys but reports of its usage suggest that after a short period the keyboard is very easy to adapt to and even better looking up close.

The Cool Leaf Keyboard

Not only designed with PC and Mac users in mind the keyboard is being tested on all of the keyboardless devices popular at the moment, iPad 2, IPhone4, Android are all candidates for users of this masterpiece of design. As a media keyboard in a home theater setup this could be the piece of bling that finishes off a setup with plenty of bling. Medical institutes are also being targeted as a market, with the flat easy to clean surface making it a hygiene star.

Akihabara news reports an estimated RRP of $300 USD, not a cheap keyboard by any stretch of the imagination but it more than makes up for that with its uber desirability. It’s about time something new in the keyboard world appeared, start saving the pennies and get ready this one is going to rock.

Further information at Minebe, usage report at Akihabara