The Gauge keyboard was developed two full years before the iPhone received the Dynamic Island, but conceptually it shows how a well-placed screen can make quite a difference to a product’s user interface and offers many more functions than the “Touch Bar”. that Apple has used on their MacBooks.
Designed as a truly global keyboard, the Gauge was conceived as a gadget that enables typing while pushing the boundaries of language, culture and linguistic prejudices. The keyboard itself features electronic ink indicators in each key, so the layout and language of the entire keyboard can be changed with a simple tweak in settings. You can switch to another language, switch to an emoji keyboard, or even add your own layouts depending on the software or game you’re currently in. The electronic ink keys are supported by this dynamic island in the top right, which gives you access to keyboard functions, desktop shortcuts, and notifications on your keyboard at a glance, so you no longer have to look at your phone or watch.
Designer: Designer point
The keyboard is designed for universality, with keys that adapt and adapt to make everyone feel welcome. “In the modern society where different languages are used in a region, traditional keyboards composed only of certain languages are difficult for a third-language user to use, making them feel discriminated against,” says designer Dot, the creator behind the keyboard concept. The keyboard’s display-based key system is a clever way to change the layout on command. Electronic ink offers high contrast while consuming very little power… although backlighting this keyboard would be impossible.
In all honesty, Gauge’s display is really a static island with a dynamic interior. The island doesn’t change in shape or size like the iPhone 14 Pro, but it itself is dynamic. It doubles as a touch bar, widget, and notification center, giving you a second screen to look at when your main screen is busy with information. The dynamic island can act as a touch bar to access an app bar, or even help display information like alerts, weather updates, or other information like flight information, as shown in the GIF above.
The rest of the keyboard design feels pretty standard. It’s tilted at a slight angle, providing ergonomic support, while the keys themselves are housed in a silicone casing that helps to muffle the noise made when you’re typing. The keyboard also has silicone feet to keep it from sliding around, and a USB-C on the back helps charge the otherwise entirely wireless device.