Here's a keyboard that has broken down the thought behind the saying "It's better to look good than to feel good." The Engrain Tactile keyboard not only looks stunning, it's also concerned with feeling great to the touch thanks to the rippling sandblasted wood construction.
Designer Michael Roopenian had two goals with his Engrain prototype keyboard. First, he wanted to engage the users' sense of touch via key recognition. Then Roopenian wanted to better attune the computer keyboard to innate human sensitivities in how we use the device.
To do this, he studied how we use the keyboards, and which letters we use the most. On most QWERTY keyboards it appears we favor the middle to left side of the keyboards, where the most-used keys are located.
He then took wood and incorporated the natural textures found in wood grains — textures became ridges with careful sandblasting, and he matched the ridges to the patterns of use.
The result is a set of beautiful wood grained keys that just have the deepest ridges located on the most used keys, fully connecting the form and function.
These keyboards are beautiful prototypes. Because they have such a recognizable tactile connection their beauty could possibly help us type faster or with less mistakes. One wonders if these keyboards would even be useful for those with vision impairments in that the keys are meant to all feel subtly different.