This might sound a little bit science-fiction or futuristic:

I am looking for a keyboard of which keys are not physically labeled, but labeled with small LEDs inside them.

Here's my problem: The country that I live in uses a different layout than EN-US Q keyboard. It includes some special characters, like any other country that does not speak English. However, I write scientific papers in English and I am very comfortable when coding with an EN-US layout. In addition, I will soon move to a completely different country for my education.

All these being said, I would like to buy a keyboard whose keys are not physically determined.

Is there any keyboard that fits the following?

  • When I change the layout, the keys automatically adapt and change accordingly.
  • With wide enter key.
  • With numpad.
  • Preferably with extra function keys.

If there is none and you are working in a firm that produces keyboards, I can assure you that I will happily be a tester if you produce that kind of keyboard. Moreover, I will probably buy a dozen of them to use for my life.

To make myself more clear, the keyboard I am looking for is just like a smartphone keyboard. But not like a screen. An actual keyboard whose keys are small screens.


There is a keyboard just as I described. It is called optimus popularis and costs freaking 1425$!

I of course want something more affordable.

  • What type of switches and caps do you prefer and what is your budget?
    – Adam
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 20:07
  • I can pay up to 100-150$. As for extra keys, only volume up/down and pause/play will be sufficient.
    – padawan
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 20:22
  • I haven't run across anything like this. I'd like to see something like this, but I suspect that it's very hard to get a screen with high enough resolution inside a keycap assembly.
    – user1
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 22:46
  • Holy Toledo. That Optimus keyboard is nifty. I have strong doubts there is a cheaper alternative though.
    – Adam
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 23:09
  • 1
    I've seen those (don't remember the model names), but they're pretty expensive and you don't get a lot of choice. What I did in a similar situation was to learn to touch-type (and I always use the same layout no matter what language I'm typing in, but that's only possible because I only use languages based on the Latin alphabet). YMMV. Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 14:03

2 Answers 2


There is an Australian company called Sonder that is putting in the marked a keyboard based on e-ink keys (the same display technolgy used on e-readers), it is in pre-order for 199$ and you can find it here: https://sonderdesign.com/product/sonder-keyboard/

Seems also that Apple is interested in this type of technology. Apple reportedly plans to ship the keyboards in its computers beginning in 2018.

More info here: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2016/10/report-apple-is-working-on-e-ink-keyboard-for-future-macbooks/


If you don't need the physical keys to change (and well, a keycap puller and maybe spare keys would fix that), you could get a remappable mechanical keyboard.

I've got an old school Razer BlackWidow - now sold as the BlackWidow Classic, but many keyboards of this sort would have similar features.

  • Has proper switches.
  • Because of this, you can just pull and move most keys around
  • You can buy replacement keycaps, even as a set.
  • Backlight optional, there's models without it.
  • You won't be a membrane-key-using plebeian.
  • You can disable, enable and remap keys to your heart's content
  • You aren't spending several thousand dollars for reconfiguring a keyboard. My key puller costs three dollars.

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