A FUNCTIONING KEYBOARD built with Lego has been shown off by a creator who evidently was bored with the standard keyboard format.
The ingenious keyboard invention that has taken nine years to build makes use of the popular construction toy in the best ways possible, with comically themed bricks to reference the function of certain keys.
The caps lock button is our favourite, using a Lego man's cap stuck on top of a brick with a padlock picture printed on it, and the Home button has a house roof brick on it.
Built by amateur Lego engineer Jason Allemann, the keyboard was prototyped in 2005 but was shelved because of design issues with a Microsoft keyboard. Allemann revived the project when he found an old keyboard by the side of the road earlier this year and decided to build his Lego brick keyboard design on that instead.
"Thankfully it is extremely easy to replace keys, so as I get inspired, or as The Lego Group releases new printed tiles, I can easily upgrade the keys. It would also be quite easy to customise the layout, or add custom symbols to make a gaming specific layout," Allemann said in a blog post, adding that the biggest challenge was creating a frame that allowed the keys to be precisely spaced above the membrane. This was accomplished with a grid of Lego Technic connectors and axles, Allemann said.
"The second biggest challenge was finding appropriate printed tiles for all the symbols on a keyboard," he said. "Thankfully The Lego Group has released all the main characters, numbers, and even a few special symbols over the years. I had to get creative with some of the keys though, which was actually quite fun."
However, the keyboard isn't complete yet, as Allemann said there are still a few keys that could use some improvement.
Allemann showed off the keyboard's performance in a Youtube video, below, and it looks to function quote well. Allemann said that although there is a bit of flex in the Technic frame, it doesn't affect the performance. "I can type just as well with this keyboard as with any other," he added.
This isn't the first time in recent years that Lego has inspired creative individuals to innovate by mixing technology with the construction bricks to create zany inventions. Last month, it emerged that a 12-year-old student in California created a Braille printer by repurposing parts from a Lego set.
It's creator, Shubham Banerjee, said that the low-cost invention could be an accessibility option for blind and disadvantaged people.
If you fancy having a crack at making your own keyboard out of Lego but cannot be bothered, you could always have a pop virtually with the Lego app for Chrome launched last month. µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ