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This fantastic keyboard mod is by my friend and fellow ITP classmate Robbie Tilton, who created it in a class called Design for Digital Fabrication. He calls it the Natural Keyboard:

I chose to create a computer keyboard made of wood and moss. I was passionate about creating this because I feel the aesthetic of modern technological objects are cold and lifeless. Surrounded with tech gadgets made of glass, metals, and plastics – I believe that as a society – we are constantly removing ourselves from nature and have drawn ourselves into a motif of objects that are visually very clean, but also visually bland and tactilely inept. What if our technology lived and breathed? If it required us to water it at night in order to allow it to bloom? If it were both visually and tactilely stimulating would user interactions change and would their relationship toward the object change?

Be sure to check out all the photos and build details of the Natural Keyboard at his site.

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist, Contributing Editor at MAKE, and Resident Research Fellow at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.



  1. scottassoc says:

    I love it! We have a woods on the other side of our parking lot. Now all we need is a tree house…

  2. While in theory this idea has a very “feel good” texture, it is totally impractical . The last thing I need or want in my life is yet another thing to attend to. These objects “are visually very clean, but also visually bland and tactilely inept” because they allow us to forget about them and get the job done.

  3. name required says:

    The narrative beats the hell out of the picture. Nice work, Tennyson.

  4. At last, a keyboard that WANTS me to spill my tea on it!

  5. [...] be-all of what it means to be a keyboard. He is fighting back with a beautiful keyboard that looks like a lawn. It’s made of wood and moss, and also some things that make keyboards work. (Let’s call [...]

  6. Crispin says:

    I grow bacteria on mine. :( One day it will evolve and form a government. :)

    Very good idea though. Why not make the keyboard, monitor etc “different”?

    /wonders off to find a candidate keyboard to try this on…

  7. Jerry Carter says:

    What kind of moss is that? Multi-colored flocking?

  8. [...] week for me as my Natural Keyboard received some really great press from Businessweek, DesignMilk, MakeMagazine, and Ponoko. Being a fan of these publications it was an honoro to be [...]

  9. [...] the piece How-To: Connect with Nature as You Type, scottassoc [...]

  10. [...] that the aesthetic of modern technological objects were “cold and lifeless,” Robbie Tilton decided to warm things up a little by constructing a keyboard made from wood and moss. Instead of [...]

  11. I wish they all came out of the factory this way.

  12. [...] La Natural Keyboards non è solo bella da guardare, ma ci ricorda che i nostri dispositivi elettronici non devono essere fatti necessariamente di plastica e metallo e che possono essere utilizzati anche materiali naturali. La Natural Keyboard è stata ideata durante un corso di fabbricazione digitale al ITP della New York University, e al momento non è in vendita. Via: Blog.makezine [...]