Anyone know anything about the Ergodex Input System?

It’s this thing:

Looks interesting, but I’m not sure how useful it would be in practice.


I reviewed it a couple of months ago. It’s interesting. The sticky key technology is really cool. You can create some pretty complex macros, then organize the keys however you’d like.

I’m not sure I’d want to play an FPS with it, but for people who play a lot of MMOs or RTS games, it’s a pretty nifty alternative to the Nostromo or some other alternative input device.

You can really put the keys wherever you want? How does this technology work?

Its a RFID technology. From the THG review:

This is accomplished through a wireless technology developed by Ergodex. The radio frequency system it uses operates at 13.56 MHz, and each of the individual keys is powered through inductive coupling. That means that you can actually hold the keys a very small distance off the surface of the board and they will still function. (Though totally useless in terms of gaming, holding a key in the air that still can fire your weapons is very useful in terms of coolness!)

That its developed by Ergodex is a little bit overenthusiastic. RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) is used in many things like them security measure strips in the store next door. I have been to a RFID demonstration where they put little printed stickers onto documents and you can find your documents in your office with a radio scanner type thingy (thats great when you got 1. lots of documents to handle 2. are the messy type of worker).

If its really a inductive coupling system then it works as follows:

  • The mat is called the RFID reader and generates a magnetic field.
  • The keys have an RFID antenna that picks up the magnetic energy and gets powered by the magnetic energy from the mat.
  • Basically the key communicates with the mat through modulation of the magnetic field.

Very simple and very endurable technology.

Thanks for the explanation. Very clever indeed… sounds like you could use the same technology to produce regular keyboard or mouse keys without a direct electric contact. The electric components could be encapsulated to be completely water-proof, and there would be no wear & tear except for the spring or rubber that provides physical resistance. But perhaps that’s not cost-effective?

The Ergodex looks very cool, but not $150 cool. If it were in the $60-$75 price range, I’d pick one up, though.

When I talked to Ergodex, they mainly focused on the technology they developed for the sticky keys, which is just amazing.

Basically, the bottom of each key is slightly sticky. It can be washed, and remain sticky. You put the key on the device and… um, it sticks. But you can’t easily pull it back off. In fact, I picked up the entire unit holding one key.

But you can easily remove them. You just twist the keys and they come right off.

No, not really as there is a microswitch that opens or closes the circuit of the key, I guess.

Arent the sticky keys just adhesion, like a suction holder? still pretty clever idea, but too expensive too tryout.

It’s some sort of weird polymer or something, not just suction (in fact, it’s completely flat, and tacky to the touch). When you wash it, it apparently restores it to full-strength.