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The Wooting One analog keyboard offers something akin to 3D Touch on a keyboard

By Koh Wanzi - on 4 May 2016, 11:18am

The Wooting One analog keyboard offers something akin to 3D Touch on a keyboard

Image Source: Wooting

You probably haven’t heard of Wooting (heck, we haven’t either), a new Dutch keyboard company, but the firm may just deserve your attention. For one, it appears to be testing the boundaries of what a keyboard has traditionally been able to do. Its Wooting One keyboard features optical switches with an analog feature that allows you to apply gradations of pressure to each key, which could potentially change how keyboards are used for gaming.

The keyboard uses Flaretech optical switches, which are actually analog switches with an optical sensor. The sensor uses light to read just how far down you've depressed the key, and unlike regular keyboards with digital inputs that can only send either on or off signals, these analog Flaretech switches can send out multiple input values.

Game controllers like the Xbox One controller already use a mix of analog and digital inputs, with the ABXY button cluster sending a digital signal and the joysticks and triggers sending analog ones. Analog signals support minute adjustments, which translate into precise controls – something that’s fairly essential to most modern games. And that’s exactly what the Wooting One does, allowing users to make tiny movement and throttle adjustments on the keyboard itself.

This opens up a wide range of possibilities. For instance, instead of holding down ‘W’ to move forward at a fixed speed, you could press down harder to move faster, or let up on the pressure to slow down.

Wooting’s software lets the keyboard be recognized by the computer as both a keyboard and gamepad, and users will have to switch between gaming and typing modes in order to utilize the keyboard to its fullest.

The Wooting One also supports an impressive range of customization options. The Flaretech switches are hot-swappable, so you can replace the default ones with other Flaretech switches without any soldering. The top plate can also be easily removed, thus allowing you to easily change up the look of the keyboard. What's more, the RGB backlight can supposedly respond to how hard you press the key.

Nevertheless, we don’t want to pile too much hype on the keyboard. It’s still in development, and many details still have to be finalized. The existing prototype reportedly only has 16 analog keys, including QWER and ASDF clusters, Ctrl, Alt, Caps Lock, spacebar and the arrow keys. The company is also still conducting tests with games to check the maximum number of keys that they will support, so the final version – if and when it makes it do retail – could be very different.

Source: Wooting via Tom’s Hardware