Road Warrior: High Tech Keyboards

Most consultants spend hours a day tapping away on their computer or PDA keyboard—never giving its form or function a second thought. If you ever need to replace it, you can find a simple, utilitarian keyboard online for under $6. But if you’re willing to pay a little more (or, in some cases, a lot more), you can find keyboards with all kinds of cool features. Here are a few examples of anything but the ubiquitous keyboard.

Unotron FlexiTuff Silent Backlit Washable Roll-up Keyboard Unotron FlexiTuff Silent Backlit Washable Roll-up Keyboard
$24.18 (includes shipping), www.buy.com
If you like the mobility of a laptop, but haven’t gotten used to the small keypad, there’s no need to worry. The Unotron FlexiTuff offers a full sized keyboard that can be rolled up and easily stored. You also don’t have to worry about dust—or lunch—clogging the keys. The waterproof designs enables users to wash it under running water. And to help you stay productive on those dimly lit red-eye flights, the whole keyboard lights up.

Self-Sanitizing Keyboard Self-Sanitizing Keyboard
$899, www.vioguard.com
Worried about what germs and bacterium are growing on your keyboard? Problem solved. Coming soon to the US is a new product that cleans your keyboard using germicidal ultraviolet lights. With the wave of a hand, the keyboard extends out of its cleaning station. And when not in use, the keyboard retracts back inside its germ-killing enclosure.

Optimus Maximus Keyboard Optimus Maximus Keyboard
$1,692, www.artlebedev.com
You know it’s unlike any keyboard you’ve ever used when its website includes a demo. Here’s why this is the world’s coolest keyboard: Instead of pre-printed letters or numbers on each key, this keyboard consists of 113 key-sized screens. Each screen’s image changes dynamically depending upon what you’re doing. If you hold down the shift key, all of the letter keys display uppercase letters. If you’re running Photoshop, the key’s images are replaced with hotkey functions. You can also program keys to display your current iTunes track, CPU usage, temperature, network speed and memory usage, or even to play a quicktime movie.

Virtual Laser Keyboard Virtual Laser Keyboard
$149, www.virtual-laser-keyboard.com
So, you want a full-size keyboard for your favorite laptop or PDA, but have limited storage space? Well, welcome to the future. This virtual laser keyboard offers a very high-tech option: a lighter-sized device that projects the image of a keyboard on any flat surface. The futuristic device uses a laser beam to recognize and store your keystrokes. You can even enable the sound to “hear” each key tap.

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