PKT Technologies Pty Ltd (PKT Tech), a leader in user interface technology, has unveiled an innovative QWERTY keyboard equipped with keys that dynamically change to match the activity of the user.
The Picture Key Board (PKB 5000) leverages PKT Tech’s patented Picture Key Technology (PKT) to deliver an interface that combines the advantages of a touch screen with the benefits of tactile ‘haptic’ feedback.
Each of the keyboard’s 110 keys can be programmed to display any required image and enact a predetermined action. This allows the keyboard to be customised for specific workflows and changed as often as required. Keys can be configured for different languages or linked to specific functions within software applications.
The PKB 5000 uses a single, standard computer screen beneath the array of physical keys. By using a special material called Bonded Fibre Optic Image Conduit (BFOIC), graphics on the screen are transferred into each key and displayed on its cap. The graphic on each can be changed through software to match user requirements.
PKT Tech’s CEO Philip Belcher said the company’s PKT technology was currently deployed around the world in mission-critical broadcast and movie audio production environments as well as commercial customer interface applications.
“The PKB 5000 now takes the advantages of PKT into the wider business environment,” he said. “Users can expect productivity improvements estimated at more than 20 per cent when compared with using conventional keyboards.”
Mr Belcher said the new keyboard is especially suitable for popular commercial/industrial productivity software applications that require multi-key ‘short cuts’ to enable superior work flow. It is particularly relevant in applications such as contact centres, point-of-sale terminals, graphic editing and process control equipment. Productivity improvements will be achieved because the keyboard significantly streamlines repetitive processes by reducing or eliminating the need for multi-key short cuts and mouse operations to navigate between multiple windows and icons as well as leveraging the unique performance features of an application.
“As well as boosting productivity, the PKB 5000 lowers operator repetitive strain injuries and fatigue by reducing the need for multi-key operations and mouse clicks,” he said.
“This, in turn, should result in a reduction in lost time due to injury and staff turnover.”
The PKB 5000 keyboard can be programmed to follow a particular process with the appropriate images appearing on and disappearing from keys as the workflows progresses. Operator training can therefore be streamlined as users no longer need to learn complicated, multi-key instructions. Also, with only the necessary keys present at any stage of the process, the likelihood of operator error is significantly reduced.
“We have put significant investment into developing the prototype QWERTY keyboard to demonstrate how picture key technology can be leveraged in commercial and industrial applications,” said Mr Belcher.
“We have seen approximately a 20 per cent improvement in process times for our customers in the broadcast and audio post-production sectors. We have also seen significant market advantage for our customers in the gaming machine industries due to PKT’s ability to enable the user interface to reflect the flow of their games, hence attracting players who prefer those machines.”
“Based on the process improvement and differentiation in these markets, we strongly believe that the application of PKT within commercial and industrial markets will provide similar significant benefits to organisations that deploy PKB 5000 keyboards.”
Mr Belcher said PKT Tech is now seeking to accelerate the full commercialisation of its patented keyboard technology and the company is currently in discussion with a range of interested parties.
“A decision was required as to whether to proceed to manufacturing and marketing the keyboard or to seek an acquirer of the technology that can apply their considerable manufacturing and marketing capabilities to leverage the technology,” said Mr. Belcher. “It was decided the most effective and timely method to see the technology achieve its true global potential is to offer the technology for sale.”
“In the hands of an innovative major software or hardware vendor that will integrate the technology into their product suites, we believe PKT will revolutionise human interface devices that are used for critical applications.”
Mr Belcher said the marketing process for PKT will commence immediately and, given the revolutionary nature of the technology, it is expected an acquisition will be completed swiftly. It is anticipated the acquirer will continue to licence the technology to PKT Tech’s existing licensees following the acquisition.