The Fairlight keyboard is currently shipping as a component of the Fairlight Xynergi media production center which includes a hardware acceleration engine and professional-grade audio mixing and editing software.
According to Fairlight CEO, John Lancken, the new key switch technology advances interaction between people and media by guiding the next step in menu-driven applications. This is achieved with or by transforming keys using icons or any of 600 available Microsoft fonts. Lancken told us, â€œThe keyboard switching technology eliminates an entire series of synapses that would otherwise be required to navigate from inspiration to execution. Beyond digital audio and video, there are tremendous applications for these switches in industrial computing, distance learning, technology training, traditional teaching, trading desk, network operation, quick service restaurants, retail and wherever people and information co-exist.â€�
The controller can support any type of language or icon driven menu structure with an â€˜on-demandâ€™ QWERTY keyboard for routine naming tasks and immediate access to MS Office tools such as email, Word and Excel. The controller also features eight touch-sensitive rotary controllers and multiple soft keys arranged around a color control zone known as the â€˜pad.â€™
The patent pending design allows full color video displays to be accommodated within a mechanical key switch. The switch has the same size and similar mechanical feel to those found in computer QWERTY keyboards. Other shapes and sizes may be developed in the future for different applications, but even now the technology is widely regarded as having the potential to spawn a whole new generation of computer input devices.
Fairlight believes QWERTY keyboards composed of picture keys could be manufactured in volume and sold at an attractive price to high end PC users including gamers, software developers and gadget enthusiasts. Application developers could simplify their user interfaces by showing layouts of ctrl and SHIFT commands.