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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 1, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Microsoft’s new gaming keyboard, for those with 26 fingers

The hardware group at Microsoft today announced a new keyboard for PC gamers that enables them to press 26 keys at once.

It’s unclear, though, how many gamers have that many fingers.

Maybe it’s anticipating how humans will evolve to cope with the proliferation of computers in their life.

When I asked about this, a spokeswoman said the point was that applied science researchers figured out a way to cut the “ghosting” effect that happens when multiple keys are pressed at once, sending a scrambled or incomplete signal.

They figured out a way to have each key scanned independently, using resistive multi-touch circuitry instead of a grid of wires that can be shorted when multiple keys are pressed. It draws on research into pressure-sensitive keyboards that surfaced last year.

“The important point is that many keyboards struggle with even pressing more than two keys at a time and this product does away with that completely,” she said. “Some of our research has shown that in other regions people are playing games with 2 people at a time using the same keyboard, so ghosting continues to be a problem for all level and types of gamers.”

Especially those with 13 fingers on each hand.

The SideWinder X4, below, goes on sale in March for $60.

sidewinder.JPG

Comments | Topics: Gadgets & products, Games & entertainment, keyboard

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