Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

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of $200,000 goal

Funded! Order Now

Dec 14 2015

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Product Choices


Crowd Supply Special UHK - $30 Off Retail Price

A fully programmable, impeccably built, open source, split mechanical keyboard - designed for extreme productivity and ergonomics. Available at a discounted pre-order rate, the UHK will retail for $250.


UHK Modules

Fully programmable add-on modules that snap onto the inside of the keyboard halves. Purchase in this bundle pack for extra savings.

Add On Modules


UHK Palm Rest

A super comfortable, truly split, UHK palm rest - designed to add even more to the keyboard ergonomics by tilting and tenting to fit your needs.


Extra UHK case

An extra case for your UHK.

UHK Extra Case


Extra UHK keycaps

An extra set of keycaps for your UHK.

UHK Keycaps


A fully programmable, impeccably built, open source, split mechanical keyboard - designed for extreme productivity and ergonomics.

As Featured In

Engadget Logo


"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."

NBC News Logo


"... [UHK] lets you control your media and your mouse without leaving the home row. "


"Coders will love the new splittable ‘Ultimate Hacking Keyboard’"

Geek Logo


"They’re really serious about not taking your hands off the keyboard."


"The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard aims to provide users with comfort, productivity and durability"

The Tech Report

"Craving a mechanical keyboard with a split layout? The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard might be just the thing."

Backerjack Logo


"... the halves of the UHK split apart from their magnetic bond to allow exceptional flexibility in the typing angle for the hands and it’s one of the few split keyboards that can be readjusted at any time."


"[The UHK] is proof positive that even compact, performance-designed, single-purpose gadgets can be designed for repair, from the ground up—complete with repair documentation."

CNET Japan Logo

CNET Japan


Digital Trends Logo

Digital Trends

"... there’s been a notable shortage of keyboards that reinvent the concept for people who spend more time working than playing. That’s where the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard plans to come in."

Resource Magazine

"... the design has many practical purposes for people in the creative arts field as well. The addon of keys could easily give you the option to add keys to preprogram to various actions and and scripts to run in Lightroom, Photoshop and more."

The keyboard for professionals.

● Increase your productivity by never leaving the home row.

● Improve your posture by typing on two, separate keyboard halves.

● Remap your keys in any way you want.

● Extend the UHK with add-on modules such as a trackball, trackpoint, touchpad, or a key cluster.

● Experience how a keyboard can be different, yet familiar.

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!

Addon Modules

Increased Ergonomics

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.

Improved Productivity

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.

Built to Last

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.

Take a Closer Look

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.

Open Hardware, Software, and Firmware

The UHK was never meant to be a black box. It’s very important for us to open up the design so that you can infinitely customize it to your needs. We know that this mindset pushes innovation forward and it resonates with many of you. Check out the GitHub repository for releases of UHK firmware, electronics design files, bootloaders, and the configuration application, Agent. With even more to come that will help with unique module design, etc.

Add-on Modules

Key Cluster Module

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.

Keycluster Module

Trackball Module

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.

Trackball Module

Trackpoint Module

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.

Trackpoint Module

Touchpad Module

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.

Trackpad Module

What’s in the Box

From top to bottom:

  • Lock screw and hex key for permanently connecting the keyboard halves if you happen to always prefer a one-piece keyboard.
  • USB Mini-B to A cable: 1.8 meters long (~6 feet)
  • Spring cable: 0.35 - 0.65 meter long (~1-2 feet), featuring 4P4C RJ11 connectors
  • Left and right keyboard halves

Make Your Choice

With the UHK, you’ve got options: You can choose keycap labeling, ISO or ANSI configuration, and even the key-switches themselves!

Keycap labeling

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.


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.

Case color

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

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.

Blue Brown Red Black Clear Green
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
  • Blue switches are a great choice for hardcore touch typists since these switches have a highly tactile nature, but they’re the loudest of all so your environment must tolerate some noise.
  • Brown switches are also a good choice for typists because they’re tactile as well, though a lot less noisy than Blue switches. Given their internal construction these switches are easier to double-tap, making them preferred by gamers.
  • Red switches are primarily meant for gamers. They’re non-tactile, smooth to press, and super-easy to double-tap.
  • Black switches are similar to Red switches but stiffer, making them less prone to accidental key presses.
  • Clear switches are similar to Brown switches but stiffer.
  • Green switches are similar to Blue switches but stiffer.

Bulk discounts

If you’re looking to equip your whole office, or just plan on giving the best presents ever, we’ve got you covered. Buy five keyboards and get them for $207 each (a 10% savings), or get ten keyboards for $195 each (~15% savings). Just make your purchase, write “bulk discount” in the comments at checkout, and your discount will be applied on the back-end as a refund. You’ll get a new email confirmation to confirm.

The Four Layers of the Factory Keymap

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.

Ultimate Configurability

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!

  • A number of keymaps can be defined.
  • Within a keymap there are 4 layers (Base layer, Mod layer, Fn layer, Mouse layer).
  • By default the base layer is active. Other layers can be activated by pressing the relevant layer switcher key (Mod, Fn, or Mouse). Any key of the base layer can be made a layer switcher key.
  • Within a layer any action can be bound to any key.
  • An action can be a key action, mouse action, macro action, or a keymap switcher action.
  • A key action emits a scancode like “L”, along with optional modifiers, so it can also emit Left Shift + Left Alt + Tab, for example. These shortcuts compose with regular modifiers. A key action can also be dual-role which acts as a normal modifier, like Control when pressed along with another key but behaves as another key like Escape when pressed in itself.
  • A mouse action is move {left, right, up, down}, scroll {left, right , up, down}, or click {left, middle, right}.
  • A macro action is a sequence of key actions, mouse actions and delays.
  • A keymap switcher action switches to the specified keymap.
  • All the above items must fit into the 32 kbyte onboard EEPROM which basically means dozens of keymaps and macros.
  • Various other parameters can also be specified such as the speed and acceleration of the mouse pointer.

Hand Movements Minimized

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.

Jam-packed with Tons of Features

Special Feature
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.

How UHK Compares

Ultimate Hacking Keyboard Matias Ergo Pro ErgoDox EZ Keyboardio Kinesis Advantage
Price $250 $200 $250 $329 $299
Truly split Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Super compact Yes No No No No
Uses Cherry MX-style keyswitches Yes No Yes No Yes
Mouse control Yes Yes No Yes No
Fully programmable Yes No Yes Yes No
Easily customizable* Yes No No No No
Familiar, staggered layout Yes Yes No No No
Open Source Yes No Yes Yes No

*”Easily customizable” is defined as one-click configuration

EU shipping

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 shipping costs are also higher than US.


Does the UHK use genuine Cherry MX switches?

Only for the clear and green switches - for any other, we use Kailh because Cherry has been having major supply chain issues. According to our experience, Kailh switches are just as high quality as Cherry’s. The clear and green switches are genuine Cherry switches because there are no Kailh alternatives. Luckily, we were able to find enough Cherry clear and green stock!

You’re welcome to read more about the reasons we chose Kailh.

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.

Tested Phones & Tablets

Device Supported?
Nexus 4 No, because USB OTG is not supported by the hardware
Nexus 5 Yes
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.

Keycap FAQ

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.

Module FAQ

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!

Ask a Question

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Ultimate Gadget Laboratories

László Monda

András Völgyi

Nikolai Lebedovsky

Ákos Tolnai

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