"The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard feels just as sturdy split apart, as it does when it's joined together. Its metallic connectors give it a particularly satisfying click when it comes together."
The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is a split mechanical keyboard which utilizes Cherry MX-style switches. It’s also a fully programmable keyboard which can be vastly customized for your needs. If you need a compact, ergonomic keyboard or are looking for the perfect programming keyboard, look no further!
Two keyboard halves result in a more natural typing posture - rather than forcing your wrists to adapt to a straight keyboard, you can adjust your keyboard so that your wrists are straight. The halves are connected by a bridge cable which expands and shrinks as needed, occupying minimal desk space.
The halves connect together securely as one piece, which is useful for transportation purposes or if you happen to prefer a one-piece keyboard.
When connected, you can unplug the bridge cable since there are connectors right between the halves that firmly mate upon connection.
For maximum touch-typing productivity, you should never leave the home row. Most keyboards have their keys arranged into various blocks, forcing you to leave the home row quite often to access navigation and function keys. The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, as you will see below, solves this problem with layers.
Thanks to the compact design, reaching the mouse is also faster, as your hands only need to travel the minimum distance required.
High-end mechanical key-switches are used for a flawless typing experience. Unlike the switches of regular keyboards, these provide a satisfying tactile feel. They endure not 5 but 50 million keystrokes, do not degrade over their lifetime, and are replaceable.
The halves are connected by precision-machined, hardened-steel guides mounted to the stainless steel plates that form the endoskeleton of the keyboard. These guides, combined with a pair of neodymium magnets, not only result in a smooth connect/split experience but also create supreme durability.
Geek out with a 3D model! You can rotate, zoom, and pan the keyboard rendering. Go full screen to see all the little details, and cycle through the annotations for even more info.
This module features 3 regular keys, 2 buttons and a mini trackball which can also be pressed - acting as an extra button. This is the only currently available module for the left keyboard half.
The trackball features excellent precision and usability and is well-suited to be used by a thumb. This module is designed for the right keyboard half.
The trackpoint surely brings back fond memories for those of you who have owned an IBM ThinkPad laptop in the past. With it, you can not only move the pointer, but click by pressing it. This module is designed for the right keyboard half.
The touchpad shouldn’t be stranger to anyone, given that it’s a part of pretty much every laptop and netbook ever manufactured. This add-on takes it to another level by placing the touchpad where it’s easier to reach - right at the middle of the keyboard. Of course, you can emulate clicking with a simple tap. This module is designed for the right keyboard half.
From top to bottom:
With the UHK, you’ve got options: You can choose keycap labeling, ISO or ANSI configuration, and even the key-switches themselves!
Stay tuned for even more labeling options for your UHK! Due to high demand, we’ll be considering alternative layouts like Dvorak and Colemak, as well as labeling for other countries. We’ll be taking a poll to help us make the decisions, so please sign up for notifications (in the text field under the video) if you’d like to shape the future of UHK!
Labeling makes a statement about your preferred operating system. Or you can make an entirely different statement, by opting for a completely blank keyboard. The blank keycap printing option also extends to the printing on the case. They’ll both be blank!
ANSI and ISO are the two standard keyboard layouts. ANSI is mostly used in the US - and ISO is the international standard set-up. They’re very similar, but ISO has an extra key next to the Left Shift key.
Note: the UHK ISO configuration features a bar-shaped Enter, rather than the L shaped Enter keys used on most ISO keyboards.
Customize your look! Made available as a stretch goal during the campaign, you have four color options for the UHK case besides the standard black.
Key-switch type is the defining factor determining the feel of any keyboard. We offer six switch types, each with their own character and corresponding color.
If you’re just not sure which to choose, don’t worry! We suggest simply choosing in a left-to-right fashion - so if the Blue/tactile switches sound good to you, that’s the most popular choice. If Blue doesn’t sound like a good fit, Brown would likely be your next best option. And if not Brown, then choose Red. The first three options are preferred by most.
|Feel||Highly tactile||Tactile||Linear||Linear||Tactile||Highly tactile|
|Noise||Clicky||Non clicky||Non clicky||Non clicky||Non clicky||Clicky|
|Sound Clip||Stroke/Typing||Stroke/Typing||Stroke/Typing||Stroke/Typing||Stroke/Typing||Similar to Blue|
|Actuation force||50 cN||45 cN||45 cN||60 cN||65 cN||80 cN|
Layers provide a way to map multiple functions to a single key. Think of the Fn key of laptops, but unlike laptops, there is not one but three layer-switcher keys, namely Mod, Fn, and Mouse. These three, in addition to the Base Layer, give you four separate layers.
Please realize that touch typists all around the world only utilize nine of their ten fingers on regular keyboards because everyone presses space with either the left or right thumb, leaving the other thumb unutilized. The Mod keys are strategically placed so that both of your thumbs can be utilized, allowing you to reach the Mod layer’s navigation functionality quicker than navigating on regular keyboards.
The Base layer contains the regular alphanumeric keys. It also includes the Super key, which acts as the Windows key on Microsoft Windows platforms or as the Command key on Apple Macintosh platforms.
The mod layer contains often-used navigation and function keys. The Mod keys are thumb activated and thus very easily accessible. You’re able to navigate quickly without moving your hands around, saving you a lot of time over the long run.
The Fn layer contains media keys to adjust the volume, navigate across tracks and launch often-used applications. Many of these functions can often be found on laptops.
The Mouse layer enables you to control the mouse pointer and trigger mouse clicks and scroll-wheel movements, purely using keys and without leaving your keyboard.
The factory keymap is just the start! You can redefine the mapping in any way you see fit - and create multiple, custom, application-specific keymaps. Do you prefer exotic layouts? Looking for a Dvorak keyboard or a Colemak keyboard? Or do you want to use the Vim keymap? How about swapping Space and Mod? Any other crazy remapping ideas? Or do you just want to make your life a little easier with some convenient shortcuts? We’ve got you covered!
Using a keyboard and mouse requires extensive motion. Hundreds, if not thousands of motions are made every day, so they really add up.
Extensive hand movement happens during typing across the various blocks of a regular keyboard.
Using the UHK while typing requires minimal hand movement.
Regular keyboards place the mouse far from the home row, so it takes a lot of effort to reach for it!
The mouse is very close to the home row of the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, so it takes minimal effort on to reach out for it. Using the built in mouse functionality layer can save even more movements.
|Agent||Agent is the configuration application that customizes your keyboard to your needs. You can already see the layers of the factory keymap, but numerous, custom, application-specific keymaps can also be created and stored in the on-board memory.|
|Adaptive Mode||Adaptive mode is an Agent feature that informs your keyboard of the active application running in the foreground and switches their application-specific keymap automatically. It's useful when often switching between applications of limited keyboard configurability.|
|Macros||Macros can boost productivity in scenarios where a number of keys must be pressed in sequence on a regular basis. You can program any such macro and bind it to any key or key combo.|
|Mouse Navigation||Mouse navigation is a truly advanced feature that not many keyboards can boast. You can control the mouse without leaving your keyboard or installing any special device drivers.|
|NKRO||NKRO stands for N-Key Rollover. It means that you can press every key at the same time and every keystroke will be received by your computer. This is important because almost every keyboard is only 6KRO (meaning it can send only six keys at once and usually less) which can be problematic for gaming.|
|Durable||Durable keyboards are not the norm but the exception. Most keyboards are flimsy plastic that bends and mushy keys that don't last. This keyboard is not all-plastic but instead contains robust metal supports, high-end key-switches, and high-quality components.|
|Repairable||Repair is disregarded by most companies, and prevented by some. We, however, cherish it. We've designed this keyboard with repair in mind. We will provide detailed repair instructions to maximize the lifetime of your investment and help preserve the environment by reducing waste. Together, we can make heirloom hardware that you can pass down to your children a reality!|
|Open Source||Copyleft is the way to truly own our products. The firmware, electronics design files, bootloaders, and Agent are all available under the General Public License, version 3. We will also release the mechanical CAD files within 5 years of the initial release.|
|Ultimate Hacking Keyboard||Matias Ergo Pro||ErgoDox EZ||Keyboardio||Kinesis Advantage|
|Uses Cherry MX-style key-switches||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Familiar, staggered layout||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
*"Easily customizable" is defined as one-click configuration
If you’ve made it this far, then you’re truly one of the brave few who don’t give up easily. We appreciate your interest, and we’d like to bring this keyboard to the market and ultimately put it into - or rather under, your hands.
When our Crowd Supply campaign starts, we’ll need more than a thousand customers to be able to manufacture this keyboard. If you haven’t already done so, you’re more than welcome to share this page, follow us, and subscribe, so that we’ll be able to let you know about major news as the campaign goes along. Let’s keep in touch!
From December 2015 to March 2016: designing and creating the injection molding tools for the plastic components and the sheet metal forming tools for the stainless steel plates that form the endoskeleton of the keyboard. The manufacturing of these tools will be carried out in Hungary, so we can easily supervise all the tiny details to ensure the highest quality.
The add-on modules will also be prototyped, and the tooling for them created during this time.
Finalizing the PCB design and sending the first ones to production. Further developing Agent, our cross-platform configuration application to implement an intuitive GUI. Further developing the firmware to implement all of the major features.
From March 2016 to April 2016: testing and finalizing the first molds, sheet metal parts and PCBs regarding fine fitting of the parts, checking overall quality. Ordering standard parts, which have been chosen already from the samples of various suppliers - like key-switches, microswitches, magnets, screws, rubber feet, and threaded inserts.
From April 2016 to May 2016: assembling the first keyboards to see if everything works well, and sending them to our testers.
From May 2016 to July 2016: After every detail is worked out to complete satisfaction - manufacturing all the custom parts, assembling the keyboards and shipping your UHK to you!
We’ll ship directly from Hungary to our EU backers, resulting in zero VAT and customs charges! If you’re from Hungary, your shipping will be free (like US shipping) - please place your order, and the international shipping surcharge will be removed from the order manually afterwards.
Regarding the $24 shipping fee that non-US backers have to pay - we have to note that US shipping is done by Crowd Supply, who is able to ship very cheaply in the US. In contrast, our Hungarian company is much smaller, and so our shipping costs are higher. In general, EU area shipping costs are also higher than US.
Does the UHK use genuine Cherry MX switches?
Only for the clear switches - for any other, we use Greetech and/or Gateron because Cherry is only willing to do business with the top three keyboard manufacturers! According to our experience, these switches are just as high quality as Cherry’s. The clear switches are genuine Cherry switches because the Gateron clear switches are linear, while the Cherry clear switches are tactile - and we want to emulate the Cherry key-switch experience. Luckily, we were able to find enough Cherry clear stock!
On which platforms does Agent run?
Being a NW.js (node-webkit) application, Agent runs on Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and GNU/Linux platforms.
How much does the UHK weigh? How big is it?
|Weight||Length||Width||Height (without keycaps)||Height (with keycaps)|
|~1kg (2.2 lbs)||289mm (11.378 inch)||132mm (5.19685 inch)||21mm (0.826772 inch)||29mm (1.14173 inch)|
I like that the keyboard halves can get so far apart, but how can I attach the halves where I want them? Like on the side of an armchair?
We had this exact use-case in mind when designing the stainless steel threaded inserts. There are four per halve, and allow you to put screws in from the back so you can mount your keyboard to almost anything.
Do you plan to release a Bluetooth version or a version featuring a matrix/columnar layout?
We’re considering it but not anytime soon.
What can be seen on the LED display?
From left to right 1) Caps Lock icon, 2) status icon showing whether Agent, the configuration application is connected to the keyboard, 3) status icon showing whether adaptive mode is enabled to auto-switch keymaps according to the current application and 4) the three letter abbreviation of the actual keymap.
What devices is the UHK compatible with?
You probably want to use the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard with your desktop machine or laptop in which case you should be covered. Windows, Macintosh and Linux supports UHK unless you’re using an ancient operating system that doesn’t support USB keyboards and mice.
UHK also works with phones and tablets that support USB OTG and USB HID devices which is the vast majority of recent devices. The following tables feature the devices we tested. If your device is not featured in these tables then connect a USB keyboard and USB mouse to it - and if that works then it will almost certainly work with UHK.
Please note that Windows phones are not supported because the Windows Phone operating system doesn’t support USB OTG.
|Nexus 4||No, because USB OTG is not supported by the hardware|
|Samsung Galaxy S2||Yes, but only with special kernel|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||Yes|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||Yes|
|Sony Xperia P||Yes|
|Prestigio MultiPad 4 Ultra Quad 8.0 3G tablet||Yes|
How is this keyboard connected to my PC / laptop / tablet / phone?
This is a USB keyboard and a USB Mini-B to USB A cable connects it to your computer. If you want to connect it to a phone or tablet that has a USB micro B connector then you’ll also need a USB OTG adapter cable.
What kind of keycap profile do you use?
We use OEM profile keycaps.
How is the durability of the buttons on the case?
These two buttons right under the space bar are designed in a way that they won’t break easily. There’s a hook inside that doesn’t allow these keycaps to move upwards and break.
What material the keycaps are made of?
We offer laser-engraved ABS keycaps. We’ll look into providing PBT keycaps but not anytime soon.
I want to swap the keycaps. Which of your keycaps are non-standard?
Non-standard keycaps are Space, Mod, Right Control, and Backspace. All the others are standard.
Is the touchpad multi-touch capable?
Unfortunately, it isn’t. A while back, I contacted with Synaptics, another huge multi-touch touchpad manufacturer. When I asked for their datasheets, they wanted me to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). I didn’t want to corrupt the open source spirit of the UHK, so I refused. Based on your comments, I’m sure that many of you feel the same way. If any of you know a multi-touch touchpad manufacturer who doesn’t insist on NDAs, then please get in touch with me and I’ll contact them.
Can [your favorite add-on module] be switched from moving the pointer to scrolling by keeping another key pressed?
Yes, this will be possible. You’ll be able to specify a set of layer switcher keys (of Mod, Fn, Mouse), and keeping one of those key pressed will activate the non-default mode of pointer modules (moving vs scrolling). You’ll also be able to specify the default mode for each add-on module, of course.
Is it possible to right click and scroll with the touchpad alone?
Yes! By default, these features are supported out of the box. The upper right region of the trackpad emulates right click. There’s also a scroll zone on the right side and an outer drag and drop zone.
Will the add-ons be compatible with the palm rest?
Will 3rd parties be able to make and sell their own add-ons? Open API, 3D-printable CAD data, and easy-to-buy connectors are really expected for 3rd party module developers.
The answer is yes to all of the above. We’d love to see more modules and empower the community to make them!
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