There’s no shortage of keyboard shortcuts that let you activate a variety of functions in your favorite desktop applications, whether it’s a video editing software, a source code editor, or a first-person shooter. Problem is, with all the software you use, memorizing all those shortcuts can get confusing, not to mention all the finger acrobatics can be straining on your fingers. The TouchPad offers an alternative.
A fully-customizable USB keypad, the device allows you to map all your favorite shortcuts onto individual keys that you can label clearly. That way, there’s no need to memorize two dozen shortcuts for every software you’re using – just program them all into the keypad and access them with a press of the correct button every time.
The TouchPad is a capacitive keypad containing 36 keys in a six-by-six grid, each of which can be programmed with five different functions each. That’s right, you can program it to detect up to five consecutive keypresses, allowing you to store up to 180 functions at any one time. With that many functions available, it’s perfectly possible to program all your most frequently-used shortcuts into the keypad, even if those functions are spread across a variety of software titles. Even better, everything is stored right on the keypad (it has memory built-in), so it will provide the same function whether on your home desktop, your work laptop, or any other computer.
Being a capacitive keyboard, the whole surface is flat, so there’s not enough of a tactile feel to let you use the keypad without looking. To help a bit, they threw in haptic feedback, which should provide some of the tactile feel of a traditional keyboard, albeit at a level that’s much less prominent.
The TouchPad is designed for plug-and-play use on Windows, Macs, and Linux PCs, so you can use it with most any computer you encounter (basically, everything but Chromebooks) without having to install any drivers. Each key on the keypad is blank, by the way, so you can write labels on it with a marker or use customized stickers to place the proper markings. The outfit, however, recommends using a transparent overlay sheet, five of which are included with each keypad, so you can swap overlays depending on what application you’re using. They’re reusable, too – just wipe down the overlay with a permanent marker remover and write new labels on the surface.
It measures 100 x 93 mm (height x width), so it’s small enough to stuff into a backpack pouch, making it easy to transport, whether you’re going to the office or going on a business trip. Do note, the back of the keypad is a bare PCB, so you’ll want to be careful transporting it unless you want to damage the darn thing. Other features include rubber feet on the corners to keep it in place during use, a slightly tilted angle for convenient function, and full Arduino compatibility for even more customization options.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the TouchPad. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $69.