Soon to be launching on Kickstarter is a versatile mechanical keyboard from Pio Design. The Pio One’s key feature (see what I did there?) is that it has transparent keys that can display any image or text. So it’s like having a customisable touch screen keyboard but with proper tactile feedback. Originally designing the Pio One for gaming and productivity applications, they have now turned their eye to DAW workflow.
Pio One for DAW
On their blog they have recently put together some concept designs for how this would work with Ableton, Pro Tools and Logic. We’re all very familiar with keyboard shortcuts and keyboard shortcut keyboards from the likes of Editors Keys and Logic Keyboard. And we’re also familiar with having to do finger twists to try to grab some key combinations. The Pio One solves this workflow inhibitor by turning every key into a macro. So, put simply, you can have a copy key and a paste key and a key for everything else as well.
One neat feature is that the keys on display can adapt to the current view. So as you change to an edit page the keys can change to the appropriate ones. This is quite important because by removing keyboard combinations you seriously restrict the amount of commands available. With the use of a modifier key such as Ctrl you double the amount of commands at your fingertips. Having the keys be context aware is one way of removing some of that restriction.
What I’m not currently understanding is the little strip at the top. In some images it shows it displaying weather information or additional info about something or other. I’m just not sure how the computer interprets this space. Apparently the Pio One can “live screen grab” a section of your computer screen. In the DAW-based images you get a strip of the DAW itself – is that useful? Why would you look there and not at the big huge screen in front of you?
The greatest thing going for the Pio One is its versatility, the fact that it can adapt into being a colourful, tactile workflow tool for any bit of software. Exactly how well it will work we won’t know for a while yet as it’s still early days.
We’ll update you when the Kickstarter hits but in the meantime more information can be found on the Pio One website.