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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWqqtybjzXE&hd=1 width=600]

We take things like capacitive touch screens for granted, but they’re a fairly recent innovation. The majority of writing in the twentieth century was produced on a QWERTY keyboard–a large chunk of that was performed on a manual typewriter. If you like the old-time tactile quality of a classic manual typewriter, but have come to appreciate the ease of use of an iPad, you’ll dig Austin Yang’s iTypewriter mechanical typewriter keyboard. Each key is mapped to match up with the built-in iOS keyboard, so as you type, a mechanical arm tipped with a conductive pad swings out and taps the capacitive screen to render a character. [via swissmiss]

Adam Flaherty

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


  • http://twitter.com/ahremsee Rob M Clarke (@ahremsee)

    I think I’ll wait until they bring out iTippex too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mkawamoto Michael Kawamoto

    Hopefully no one decides to use White-Out to correct a mistake!

  • http://trkemp.wordpress.com trkemp

    Interesting that the mechanical keyboard isn’t qwerty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rickythekid Ricardo Peredo Sarile

    hmmm…. why is the iTypewriter not following the qwerty keyboard system?

  • http://twitter.com/Bashtarle Bashtarle (@Bashtarle)

    Cool but was I the only one cringing every time one of those arms smacked the screen?

    • miroslava von schlochbaum

      yep, i certainly was. expected to see a little spiderweb of spreading cracks…

      Nonetheless i know someone that would happily plunk down significant cash for this. (old fart who utterly hates screen-keyboards (and no, it isn’t me – i’m just an old fart))

      • http://trkemp.wordpress.com trkemp

        They would be far better off with a Bluetooth keyboard.

        • miroslava von schlochbaum

          he’s got one. wait… he has two. he hates them. he -likes- his old royal. hence this project is perfect for him. (told you he was an old fart)

  • fonz

    what brilliant idea, someone should combine the two into one device, say something like a clamshell where one half is keys other half is screen. When closed the key part it would even work as a protector for the screen …….

    • http://trkemp.wordpress.com trkemp

      That’s brilliant. You should patent it!

      • fonz

        considered some of the stuff that gets patended these days, it should just a piece of cake to get that patent rubberstamped

    • James

      You just described the Nokia E90 – I’ve had one for a couple of years. ;)

      • fonz

        I was trying to be funny ;) Ipad plus keyboard is just a clumsy expensive substitute for a laptop

  • http://www.facebook.com/mykungfuisgreaterthanyours Jerry Murray

    How many WPM can an iPad handle? He’s typing very slowly and deliberately in the video.

    • http://trkemp.wordpress.com trkemp

      Probably because it’s some weird keyboard layout to match the combination of mechanical linkages and the iPad virtual qwerty keyboard. I’d guess it jambs pretty easily too.

  • Travis

    They really went out of their way to not show a closeup of the keys. Obviously they don’t want you to see the non-QWERTY layout.

    • Mike

      One of the alternate photos of the iTypewriter on Austin Yang’s website gives you a pretty good view of the keyboard layout.

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