The Das Keyboard 5Q RGB mechanical keyboard responds to notifications from the cloud

Das Keyboard 5Q
The 5Q is intended to be an output device as well, and not just an input one. (Image Source: Das Keyboard)
Mechanical keyboard aficionados are probably familiar with the Das Keyboard brand. But if you’re already an established name, how do you capitalize on that? By making a keyboard with functions no one else has it seems. The company has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Das Keyboard 5Q, a cloud-connected mechanical keyboard with individual LEDs that can respond to information received from the cloud.
The color of each LED is controlled remotely, so the keyboard can be used to visually represent specific data or events. The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good thing that the API is open source, which means that developers will be able to get in there and create new uses and applications. Das Keyboard is even preparing a community website for developers to share their open source widgets.
Possible uses of the 5Q include everything from graphing CPU usage or temperature, glowing green or red as stock prices rise and fall, and even notifying you about urgent emails. It can even be set to indicate information on the weather.
The individual LEDs can be controlled remotely via the cloud. (Image Source: Das Keyboard)
The individual LEDs can be controlled remotely via the cloud. (Image Source: Das Keyboard)
Another unique touch is the Q button, which looks like a volume knob and actually doubles as one as well. When pressed, it will display the information that your keyboard is currently showing on your desktop, which could come in useful if you’ve got so much stuff going on that you forget what the lighting actually means.
Then there are the mechanical switches themselves, which aren’t the standard Cherry MX variety. Das Keyboard is calling them Gamma-Zulu switches – quite a mouthful – and they were designed in tandem with Omron, a Japanese manufacturer known for its switches in gaming mice.
The new Gamma-Zulu switches are rated for up to 100 million actuations, compared to 50 million for Cherry MX. They require 45g of force to actuate, and produce tactile feedback. And while the full travel distance is something like 3.5mm, they supposedly actuate at 1.5mm for faster response times. Das Keyboard has likened them to Cherry MX Brown switches, which are slightly stiffer with 50g of actuation force required.
The switch design has also enabled an LED pipe to be installed in the center, which helps make the lighting much brighter, sort of what Logitech did with its Romer-G switches.
The keyboard has already received over 1,100 backers on Kickstarter and already exceeded its US$100,000 funding goal with 29 days left. It will eventually retail for US$229, but you can get it at an early bird promotional price of just US$139 on Kickstarter. Expect to be waiting for a while though – it isn’t scheduled to ship until January 2017.