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A very viable investment opportunity for anyone wanting to invest (specialized programming keyboard)

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ChrisV

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Edit.. i just reread my post and realized it read a bit like an advert. It's really not. I just wanna see these things made because they're cool as hell and I'm terrified of carpel tunnel from all the typing I do.. Anywho:

Okay, there's a legendary bizarre-looking keyboard among programmers. But they're no longer available. The company who made them went out of business, now people are scrambling to get their hands on them.
For programmers who spend hours on end manipulating code, these things are a dream come true.


They sell on eBay for $3000 each simply because you can't find them. People go crazy for them.

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.19.50 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.57.40 PM.png

They're a bizarre looking keyboard originall meant for people with Carpel Tunnel. But when programmers found out how good they were for long coding sessions and hoe efficient it made them, they all started to get them. Until the company went out of business in the early 2000's

They look weird, but they are very popular.

keychatter_2015-03-04_04-05-16-3.png

This keyboard works by having each of your ten fingers choosing the character you want by selecting from a radial menu. You can push down, or move north, south, east or west, and get a different character for each. The character you get corresponds pretty well to the character you get with the same finger when you move it from home position on a conventional QWERTY keyboard.
People love these things so much and are so desperate to get their hands on them that they're started making remaking them from scratch. One gentleman is about 90% done.

Re-Create the DataHand - Thumb cluster under development. Project 75% done.


Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.36.31 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.36.40 PM.png


My friend is trying to make a version that's not so bizarre looking.

51538689_377645779691348_6940256448383287296_n.jpg


Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.40.58 PM.png


Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.41.06 PM.png


I have no affiliation with this aside from wanting one for programming. But my homeboy has a mailing list at electrunique.com, but anyone interested in this, I think it's a very viable opportunity to get in on. People go crazy for these things. Read these threads:

Re-Create the DataHand - Thumb cluster under development. Project 75% done.

I posted it to reddit and most people were really intrigued:

Screen Shot 2019-02-08 at 7.48.40 PM.png

The ultimate vim keyboard? : vim

Blog post

My Keyboard




Anyway, figured I'd mention it in case anyone was interested. And if anyone here ends up involved.. i want one ;D
 
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abogdan88

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I built a modified dactyl manuform for myself, which os comparatively less weird to that keyboard.
 

ExaltedLife

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If it's so awesome, why did they go out of business? Is it superior to a Dvorak keyboard?
 

ChrisV

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If it's so awesome, why did they go out of business? Is it superior to a Dvorak keyboard?
And DVORAK is just a layout. The DataHand Keyboard can be set to DVORAK. My friend actually has one of that uses that layout.

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 9.44.27 AM.png

It places all the most used keys in the home row where your hands normally sit. A heatmap of the most commonly used keys:

qwerty_vs_dvorak_keyboard_layout_heat_map.jpg

It allows the most commonly used keys to be more easily accessible:

8kmawz3zz2t01.jpg

But again, the original DH's had a DVORAK option. I think it was just a software add-on.

It went out of business due to some shady business dealings and it was marketed as a medical device for people with carpel tunnel. Programmers later found it after it went out of business, and liked it.

]View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7UajuYCIyk[/media]


]View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCh_Taf3y1U[/media]
 
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ChrisV

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I built a modified dactyl manuform for myself, which os comparatively less weird to that keyboard.

Oh, I know those keyboards. I would argue that those are just as weird, if not weirder looking. And while a definite step up from normal keyboards, they're supposedly not as efficient as the DataHand, but it's hard to find comparisons with the rarity.

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 9.29.29 AM.png

But the design of the DataHand would have to be cleaned up to not look so bizarre, I agree.

I think a DH clone would also have obvious potential for gamers.
 
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Exhosa

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The company who made them went out of business, now people are scrambling to get their hands on them.
How is this possible? Even if that particular company went out of business for whatever reason, feels like some of the giants in that industry would just make this and sell if there is a crazy demand for it or am I missing something?
 

abogdan88

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How is this possible? Even if that particular company went out of business for whatever reason, feels like some of the giants in that industry would just make this and sell if there is a crazy demand for it or am I missing something?
Average users won't buy these kind of keyboards. The manufacturing cost (mold injection?) is very high due to the smaller demand. 3D printed cases cost lower, but it's only for hobbyist. A lot of people can't understand why those 3D printed cases look so 'ugly' yet the cost is so high.
 

abogdan88

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Oh, I know those keyboards. I would argue that those are just as weird, if not weirder looking. And while a definite step up from normal keyboards, they're supposedly not as efficient as the DataHand, but it's hard to find comparisons with the rarity.

View attachment 23631

But the design of the DataHand would have to be cleaned up to not look so bizarre, I agree.

I think a DH clone would also have obvious potential for gamers.

I don't have any data, but DataHand seems to be a smaller niche. And yes, data hand requires fewer finger motion. I don't think I can build one myself. If you make one, I might be a customer.
 

ChrisV

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How is this possible? Even if that particular company went out of business for whatever reason, feels like some of the giants in that industry would just make this and sell if there is a crazy demand for it or am I missing something?

I don't know, you'd have to email those other companies. I think people get turned off from these because of how weird and medical they look (again, they are technically made for people with RSI and carpel tunnel.) So there's a cost benefit trade-off. The cost is that it looks weird. The benefit is upgraded efficiency and comfort. For programmers who type all day, this trade-off is worth it. For those who just surf the web and aren't at risk of RSI (repetitive stress injury) aren't going to want to shove their fingers ito some device that looks like a CAT-Scan for your fingers. But the design is one thing that would need work. I was thinking that playng up the 'futuristic' aspect of it would make it much more palletable, especially to gamers. (these things have been featured in a few sci-fi movies) A design style like so could make it attractive:

51644427_763268410714623_7453491584122748928_n.png

Markets i see as viable:

Programmers
Gamers
Secretaries
Court Reporters (i heard it can be modified into a stenography machine with some software updates)
Data Entry..

Really anyone who types for a living.

The original Data Hand had some pretty big contracts with large companies that wanted to reduce strain injuries in employees before they went under.
 

ChrisV

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that one's pretty badass looking.

I don't have any data, but DataHand seems to be a smaller niche. And yes, data hand requires fewer finger motion. I don't think I can build one myself. If you make one, I might be a customer.

Yes I think it's a smaller niche, but also the same niche. The types of people to buy either DH's or Dactyl's would be those who type for 4+ hours per day. Although I think the original company did a bad job of marketing.

Interesting about the patent too.
 

klix

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To sell these to consumers at $300, the stores need to buy them for $200.

To sell them to stores at $200, you need to get them into America for $100.

Or to sell them yourself, assume $100 transaction cost (marketing, warehousing) so you still end up with $200 gross.

To get them made for that much, you need to make 10,000 units ($1 mil)
Plus R&D of $150,000.

Cost would be 1.15 mil, with the potential of making $850k. Break even would be at 5,750 units sold.

With a loan of $1m for the inventory at 10%, that'd be $100k in interest for a year.

So take that out of the $850k as well.

So the question is, are you confident you could sell thousands of these at $300?

If so, get the seed money together to make a prototype, do a kickstarter to make a final prototype, get bank financing for the inventory, get them manufactured, then get them sold.
 
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ChrisV

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To sell these to consumers at $300, the stores need to buy them for $200.

To sell them to stores at $200, you need to get them into America for $100.

Or to sell them yourself, assume $100 transaction cost (marketing, warehousing) so you still end up with $200 gross.

To get them made for that much, you need to make 10,000 units ($1 mil)
Plus R&D of $150,000.

Cost would be 1.15 mil, with the potential of making $850k. Break even would be at 5,750 units sold.

With a loan of $1m for the inventory at 10%, that'd be $100k in interest for a year.

So take that out of the $850k as well.

So the question is, are you confident you could sell thousands of these at $300?

If so, get the seed money together to make a prototype, do a kickstarter to make a final prototype, get bank financing for the inventory, get them manufactured, then get them sold.
if you sell direct to consumer or on Amazon, the price can be lower, since the store doesn't have to carry and amazon doesnt mark things up that much.. but again, it's not my project

and yea.. i think you could sell 1000 for 300, one guy had a few hundred of these that sold for around $2500-$3000 each

View: https://youtu.be/CCh_Taf3y1U


I mean even look at the comments in the video.. bunch of people trying to buy and/or recreate these
 

JohnS

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Haha, this is crazy! I'm a little late to this thread, but I never thought I would see my interest in custom mechanical keyboards crop up in The Fastlane Forum.

I've built an Ergodox and Planck from kits, and I'm in the process of building an Iris now.

I just finished compiling a list of interesting ergonomic & ortholinear keyboards I have considered building or trying out:

https://mechlab.cc/interesting-ortho-ergo-keyboards/


Anyway, the Datahand looks interesting since it uses a completely different switch type. It could be different enough to create a new market niche.

I have thought about creating a keyboard based on some of the more open-source/hobbyist-type designs listed above, but with a higher level of fit and finish, better marketing, etc., but I'm not sure how to estimate the market viability for such a product.
 

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