Levitatr Keyboard for iPad and others
You know, I’ve said many times in this column that I cannot stand using a virtual keyboard, it’s unnatural and slows down the process of getting down on the screen what I want to say. And thus we’ve talked about several different Bluetooth and wireless solutions to this problem. But the Levitatr has a unique twist to it, one that we haven’t seen before and so we give it’s developer a commendation for the idea. And what is that twist? The keys literally come up out of the case and retract back in when not in use. At first, we had trouble seeing the benefit in that, but after reading the explanation it made perfect sense.
Inside say a book bag or backpack, where you would have your iPad and keyboard, there is a possibility that a key could get pressed accidently. This could lead to any number of embarrassing scenarios. Imagine if it turned on the iPad and it started playing something you didn’t want others to hear, especially when visiting your grandmother. Or it dials someone on a speed dial which then picks up and can hear everything you are saying. Now these may be rare, but if the keys are not accessible when not in use, this can’t happen and that’s a good thing.
The other benefit of having disappearing keys, besides it looks very cool and futuristic, is that it can also keep dust and particles out and keep the keys from being damaged while being banged around in the book bag. If you’ve ever seen college students or even younger treat their backpack like a punching bag, slamming it on a table, you can see why this could be important. Many a keyboard has been destroyed with a few accidental slams.
The device looks really futuristic and is designed very carefully to match the look of the iPad itself. It’s only 12mm in width and has a high gloss polycarbonate face, key caps and bottom cover, while the frame is made from an aluminum alloy. And so the look is sure to impress your friends when you get it out and start typing, especially when the keys just seem to pop up out of nowhere. To even add to the futuristic feel and help hunt and peck typists in the dark, the keys, while extended, are backlit so that you can see where they are even in the darkest room. The device also comes with an ALUMNM kickstand that can prop the iPad or other device up to act as a screen.
The keyboard connects to the iPad or similar device using Bluetooth connectivity and requires 4 AA batteries to power it. It can also work on a host of other gadgets such as the iPhone 3G and 4, the iPod Touch, the Mac Mini, the HP Touchpad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 7. While they haven’t tested it on others and are hesitant to make the claim that it works with others, there is a good chance being that it’s a Bluetooth device, that it will work on just about any of them that accept Bluetooth input.
The Levitatr is not in stores just yet. It is a Kickstarter project that is trying to raise $60,000 to begin manufacturing. And like all Kickstarter type things, it has various levels of donations to help get you started. $1 or more will get you a CAD file in STL that will show you how the device is designed, $25 will get you the kickstand which will hold up a tablet or smart phone in the screen type position. The price for this item alone will be $29 later on. And if you donate $79 or more, you get the whole device including the keyboard itself and the kickstart stand, which will have a suggested retail price of $99. As usual any donations you make, if the project is not funded, will be returned. But if it is, you will get the item based which donation level you chose. The expected date of manufacture is November for the kickstands and December for the entire keyboard. You can learn more about the project at the Kickstarter page as well as making a donation if you want to snag one of these babies in a couple of months and help an entrepreneur in the process.