Almost two years after we first went hands-on with a prototype, the Nemeio customizable keyboard with ePaper keys is up for pre-order through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.

Super Early Bird backers can reserve one for a pledge of €168 (~$200) plus shipping, and the Nemeio is scheduled to begin shipping to backers in September, 2021.

While that’s not exactly pocket change, it’s less than half the expected retail price – when the Nemeio officially comes to market it’s expected to sell for €399 ($465). If you don’t manage to score the Super Early Bird pricing though, there are also Early Bird and Kickstarter Standard deals at €202 (~$241) and €230 (~$274), respectively

Wondering why you’d want to spend that much money on a keyboard? Because Nemeio isn’t really like any other keyboard on the market.

Underneath 81 transparent plastic keycaps is an ePaper display that allows you to change the keyboard layout on the fly. You can use an app to switch between languages or shift to custom icons for the keyboard shortcuts you use in graphic, audio, or video editing software, among other things.

Nemeio can work as a Bluetooth or USB keyboard and it can be used with Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android devices. It has a rechargeable battery good for up to 20 hours of run time when unplugged.

I was underwhelmed by the feel of the prototype I tested nearly two years ago – the keys felt too smooth and the key travel felt a bit off. But company representatives told me at the time that they were working on improving responsiveness of the keyboard, so hopefully some of the kinks have been worked out by now.

One thing that can’t really be helped with this sort of design, though, is that the lettering seems recessed. Instead of seeing the letters, numbers, and other characters painted on top of the keys, you’ll see them a few millimeters below the top of each key, which can take a little while to get used to.

That said, if you have a need for multiple keyboard layouts, this does seem like a potentially more elegant solution than buying multiple keyboards.

Here’s my video from January, 2019 showing an early prototype:

This article was originally published October 29, 2020 and last updated November 9, 2020. 

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  1. As somebody who switches keyboard layouts all the time, that would be a godsent. But why does Nemeio bother with doing the keyboard mechanics at all? Why can’t they just OEM an excellent keyboard and concentrate on the e-Paper technology in the caps? They don’t have to re-invent the keyboard, just the keycaps. And, as it seems, they already have their work cut out for them for the next iterations, because the recessed thingy will only fly with the IT crowd as long as there is a novelty bonus. In one or two years I want my letters right where they are right now.

    1. I just thought of something. You know those old laser projector keyboards that no one liked? what if you used a projector like they had to display letters on top of a mechanical keyboard with solid color caps? Then, when you changed layouts, it could project different characters onto the keys?
      …Yeah, I actually don’t know which would be harder to sell, that kinda thing, or a keyboard with a set of Cherry MX compatible keycaps with epaper in them. I mean, however they solve the problem of getting a signal to the caps from the controller, it’s probably not going to be cheap, and will definitely require modification of any template keyboard they start with.

  2. i’m not sure that I would be interested in buying such an expensive keyboard that doesn’t even seem to be interested in the things that people want out of an expensive keyboard. people spend $400 on keyboards that offer high-quality mechanical switches.

    $400 is a stretch for something that might not even feel good to type on.

    I’d be more likely to buy something like this as a secondary “macro-pad”, to build some shortcuts for software. maybe something about the size of a number-pad. that way I can still type on a keyboard that meets my preferences of tactility.

  3. The most irritating thing with the wireless mouse and keyboards I have, is when the battery needs recharging every few weeks – every day would be too much to stand!

    I think I’ll stay with $20 keyboards and $1 sets of sticker to lay on the keys!

  4. The price is horrible but I would actually like this. I use different language layouts (I’m a translator) and I’m a touch typist. I generally don’t have problems with the letters but the changed in symbol placement really slows me down. Especially when a different layout than the keyboards since I can’t cheat and look (like when I’m using a Spanish/Spain layout on an American keyboard). Sometimes I have to switch back the layout just so I can find the desired character.

    But still, that price, and on crowdfunding to boot (risk factor…)

    1. yeah, if you try switching with totally different alphabets, there is where the real fun starts. I touch-type in Russian and on a Qwerty keyboard. I have been using a Portuguese one, first a Portuguese layout on a German or English keyboard (I don’t remember 😉 ) and now a hardware Portuguese in my 1 y/o MacBook, because to me it has all the special letters I need (Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, English, Dutch) easiest accessible. However, now that I am starting to do more Russian and Arabic, this moves clearly beyond the scope of a Qwerty keyboard. I am reasonably reliable in Russian as long as there are no additional signs or numbers involved. Japanese has Kotoeri, and Turkish is also reasonably mappable onto a Portuguese keyboard (even ğ and ı), but everything else that uses a totally different alphabet is totally off limits. I don’t even want to start imagining how Hebrew and Chinese map… Admittedly, those are probably rather niche problems but, hey, welcome to my world! 😀
      Problem with all those external keyboards is that they are one additional piece of hardware I need to carry around when travelling, and i don’t like that idea…

      1. What do you mean by programming?
        This keyboard shows which virtual screen you have currently open. (diode / indicator under the function key) It shows which language you have. It has 2 potentiometers/rotor to set the volume and manipulate objects in 3D programs. etc.