Ask anybody who has become a speed demon within an app what their secret is and more often than not, an expert-level use of hot keys is likely to be among the more common answers. Whether the user is a graphic designer switching between selection tools in Photoshop or Illustrator, or a design engineer switching between sketch tools in SolidWorks or MODO, hot keys can rapidly speed up anybody’s workflow if they take the time to get to know them.

However as much as they can speed up a workflow with practice and consistent use, learning how to use them can be an aggravating experience for new users who are also facing a crushing deadline. To support new (and even advanced) users in speeding up their workflow, a variety of companies have created custom application-specific keyboards and skins to aid users with color-coded sections and toolbar icons. Even Wacom and 3DConnexion have incorporated hot keys into their peripheral devices in some way or another for the most commonly used actions.

More recently, Jaasta, a new E-ink keyboard concept, has entered the market and wants to be your ever-morphing keyboard that can automatically customize itself based on whichever application you happen to be in. To put it in their own words, the Jaasta Keyboard is “the inevitable final step in the evolutionary ladder that incorporates human to machine.”


In addition to being able to change its display based on an active application, the tactile keyboard also includes a 3.5 inch interchangeable touchpad with multi-touch navigation, media hot keys and a battery life that lasts for a full twelve months.

Labeled - exploded model




To take things a step further, Jaasta even has plans to make the entire keyboard a modular piece of hardware, meaning that they want to see users in the future swapping out various components such as a drawing pad for the touchpad. The device will also feature voice recognition similar to Apple’s Siri for commanding a computer to “search”, “send”, “save”, “delete” and more.

“The Jaasta E Ink Keyboard will change the way users think of everyday accessories,” the company said in a press release. “Seeing our E Ink Keyboard is believing. Once a person uses one they will likely never want to return to using an old-style keyboard ever again.”


The California-based Jaasta team is planning on launching a crowdfunding campaign for the new keyboard (as well as a mouse) in the near future. You can stay updated by signing up for their mailing list over at Jaasta.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.