Welcome to another edition of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, a column that showcases minarets of terrifying new gadget announcements in hopes of landing the day’s catch as an approach that changes the world.
My focus this week is an attractive ergonomic keyboard, a modular smartphone, a wide-angle virtual reality helmet and a complex game controller.
Beware: These are not formal reviews, nor should you take ratings with less than a pinch of salt – they only relate to how physically interested I am in each.
Who said the keyboard and mouse are dead?
To save all our wrists – or at least for those who spend on a computer accessory with a US Access 299 – there is a beautiful, wood-crafted keyboard called “Keyboardio Model 01” (pictured above) .
Taking its cue from a long history of ergonomic keyboards, the device splits an atypical keyboard in two, devoting half the keys to each of your hands, and is set in a gorgeous maple wood construction.
The LEDs that light up the keys are customizable and programmable, which I think is great if you want to host a mini rave for yourself while working in the middle of the night.
It is also open source, so you may like the setup, but share your customization with others.
At the end of the modular smartphone movement APS over the years is the notion of stability and personalization. Why does someone throw away an otherwise completely fine smartphone when the screen breaks if someone can fix it quickly and easily?
Connecting with Google’s Project Ara and PhoneBlox in this area is Fairphone, which has just revealed its second generation handset.
The device has good specifications for the 2015 smartphone, with a Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage, and dual SIM card slots with Bait. Only microphones are resolved in the case, out of necessity.
Fairfone sounds a bit less sleek than similar projects, such as PhoneBlox or Project Ara, and yet I find it more appealing than others. Perhaps it is my internal protectionist who is shouting loudly at the commitment to get tin and tantalum from moral sources.
This is probably related to the sense of accomplishment that moving the parts in and out would hold onto the sliding module to add or remove them.
The focus is more on replacing faulty components than on upgrading some parts, so in this respect it stumbles behind those other modular smartphone projects – but I’m for a handset that takes the environment into consideration.
Reality in widescreen
At this week’s E3 Gaming event was yet another virtual reality headset offering something different amid the announcement of innumerable new games and ways to play them.
Starbridge’s StarVR headset has a 210-degree viewing angle, with two 5.5-inch Quad HD displays, which have a resolution of 2560×1440.
The Oculus Rift, meanwhile, limits the field of view to 100 degrees.
Recently while trying Oculus Rift, I was definitely immersed in the game world. However, I felt that my field of vision was restricted, and I tilted my head more awkwardly and in more directions than I would have liked.
So, a virtual reality headset that allows me to see more of the virtual world at once would be most welcome. At the rate at which the virtual reality movement is increasing, if I have any hope of playing new games comfortably, I will have to start contact again.
Also this week in the gaming arena comes the news of a $ 299 dedicated controller – for a farming simulator game in which you are driving a tractor.
Sure enough, Saitek’s Farming Simulator features foot paddles, steering wheel with turn knob (for authenticity), and a side panel with loader stick, plus more than 20 programmable buttons. It is definitely more detailed than the Amiga joystick.
This takes into account the highly complex control systems of the past, such as these have been for flight simulation games for more than a decade. All I know is that I would rather fly around in a virtual jet than sneak some pelted areas and feed virtual chickens.