ErgoDox Infinity31 Mar 2015
image property of Andrew Lekashman
So it looks like a new ErgoDox is being released. It is called the ErgoDox Infinity. This time it has been created and HaaTa in collaboration with Massdrop, but with the blessing of Dox. HaaTa being the creator of the Infinity and the KLL. This new ErgoDox comes with new features, most notably “keyboard interconnect”. This seems like a very interesting addition to the keyboard as it allows for halves to work independently or joined together with others.
It is also going to be sold with everything pre-soldered. I assume with all smd components. I don’t really know if this in an overall improvement as one of the great parts about getting an ErgoDox is assembling it. Now all that is required is to solder the switches and add the keycaps. It also comes with support for alps as well as cherry switches. This is also something the original ErgoDox also had. Having the boards come pre-soldered will certainly make the keyboard more accessible to a wider audience. An audience who might have been put off by the fact they had to solder all the components themselves. It will also be interesting to see how this affects the Ergodox EZ indiegogo. I think this will mainly come down to price at this point.
The other interesting feature is the RGB backlit LCD screen. This is something I have seen on a couple of keyboards in the past, and thought of it as semi-useful. It may be useful to display the layer you are on. However, this is only really useful if you have an incredible amount of complicated layers. You may argue if you need a screen to see what layer you are on you just have too many. I don’t see this is entirely a negative point though. I am excited for a bit of keyboard innovation and difference. But it certainly effects how it looks and I can’t say I really like the look of it sticking out in the corner.
One of the other major points stressed in the announcement post was the online configurator that is being worked on. It will function for both the Infinity and of course the ErgoDox Infinity. I expect this to have functionality exceeding the current ErgoDox configurator that is exceedingly out of date. This is great as it makes it much easier for people to customize their layouts and use KLL which I find a bit daunting. I can only imagine the configurator gets support for more boards in the future as KLL has partial support for the teensy 2.0. Which of course is the most commonly used controller for custom keyboards. I hope this means that MassDrop will be updating their configurator for the Original ErgoDox (as it may now be called) to use KLL. But I am not so sure this will happen as it has been neglected for quite some time.
I thought it important to mention that backlighting was not mentioned at all. This was one of the main requested features of the ‘Original ErgoDox’ and I believe a pcb with backlighting support is still in development.
I was fairly excited to hear about a new version of the ErgoDox, however I’m not sure it is really all that impressive. The screen is a bit of a gimmick, but I am most definitely intrigued by the chaining together aspect. But I am not blown away by the features. I do like KLL and HaaTa’s use of Latex for his documentation. At this point I am not blown away by what it has to offer. But I might be wrong. It does seem like thought has been put into it. If it is anything like the quality of Infinity, I’m sure it will be fine.
Read the original announcement post here
The ErgoDox Infinity is now available! for $299.99. This price is a little disappointing but understandable. But I am sure the drop will reach the lowest price of $199.99. This is certainly a price I would be willing to pay for this new ErgoDox. Even without any ‘killer’ features, as it’s the same price as the original you may as well go for the ‘Infinity’ version.
At the time of writing this article there have only been 9 purchased. This seems a bit slow to me. I was expecting a lot of initial excitement. But I still hold firm in thinking this will go to the cheapest price option. All ErgoDox drops in the recent past have always made it.
The kit will is available to purchase with matias alps, cherry switches and gateron switches. This is a better selection that they have ever given. But more importantly there is an option for keycaps with the alps. This means you won’t have to find an alps donor board. There is still no comment on backlighting. But there do however appear to be two additional holes beneath each switch. These do appear to be LED holes. If you look at another keyboard pcb with LED support, the poker 2 for example, you will find a similar layout.