Design Gems from Moscow (with love?)

Through the usual way that one stumbles upon something on the Internet (by…stumbling upon it), I found the web site of the Art Lebedev studio, who have become known because of a breakthrough keyboard that has been talked about (and wished for) for quite some time. The keyboard has struck a chord (pun intended) with a lot of geeks, because it’s one of those ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ kind of products. Each key is an LCD, and can be programmed to both display a different character and type that character (or perform that function) when pressed. Here’s what that could mean:

Set for English: (lower case)

Optimus Keyboard set for English

Those same keys set for Photoshop:

Set for Photoshop

Wait, what it if was set for the game Quake?

Set for Quake

On top of this extraordinary keyboard, there is also a brilliant, if less ergonomically spot-on mouse:

The Mus 2 Mouse from Lebedev Studios

In addition to these bits of Industrial design (and geek fancy-tickling), Mr. Lebedev, who along with his studio, is in Moscow, also writes a sort of blog, although it is not an RSS feed (but I wish he would make it so) called Mandership. According to Mr. Lebedev, it’s been a project since 1997 (which would account for it’s pre-RSS structure). I also notice that the most recent entry is in 2006. I hope he does another few this year. Nearly all of the posts I read were gems of clear thinking about design, the way the world works, and the way people think. No wonder he and his compatriots at his studio keep coming up with such brilliant products, even if some of them are harder to bring out of the concept stage.

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