Hi there, and welcome to this delayed monthly UHK status update!
TL; DR: The assembly of the first 400 modules is underway in our facility, and we expect to ship them in about a week. Afterward, we’ll be continuously producing and shipping module preorders as quickly as we can. One of our key contractors has become suddenly overloaded, and as a result, we expect to start UHK 60 v2 production around the end of April. There are a lot of cool demos in this update, so make sure to read it.
Module manufacturing has finally started, and we’re assembling the first 400 modules, including 100 modules per type. The following photo was taken after surface-mount assembly and shows the module panels:
Unlike the UHK panels, the module panels contain numerous PCBs. The key cluster panel looks like some kind of modern art:
The trackball panel is very densely populated:
It’s interesting to peek into the modules, so here are some pictures of them half-assembled and fully assembled:
The following modules have been assembled so far:
The modules’ look and accuracy have greatly improved since I made the last module demo videos, so I’ve made some new ones. At the end of the videos, you can see the scrolling navigation mode in action assigned to the Mod layer of my UHK 60 v2. This mode makes it easy to zoom through a massive amount of content quickly, and it’s great to skim through documents.
Let’s start with the trackball module.
We’ve tried many different balls, and we’re unsure whether to provide a light black resin ball or a heavier steel ball, so we’ll include both. We may eventually offer only one of these balls based on your feedback. The balls can be quickly replaced without tools, according to the following video.
The new, modified, injection-molded spacer improved trackpoint accuracy, and now it feels more accurate.
Beyond single tapping, the touchpad module supports two-finger tapping, two-finger scrolling, and pinch to zoom, but only tapping is supported at this point. We’ll add firmware support for every one of these actions soon.
Can the modules replace the mouse? It’s a question asked by many, so it’s worth an answer. The modules are a good fit to replace the mouse for regular desktop use, such as web browsing or interacting with applications. If you’re a graphics designer and spend a lot of time in Gimp or Photoshop, a mouse or a graphic tablet is a better choice, though. As for gaming, I think the modules are useful for specific games such as turn-based strategy, but I wouldn’t play fast-paced games, such as first-person shooters with them.
We keep shipping on a first-come, first-served basis, but the first 400 modules will be sent only to non-Crowd Supply backers. The reason for this is that Crowd Supply could potentially cause a weeks-long delay in delivery, and it is vital to get quick user feedback at the start of module mass production.
After shipping the first 400 modules, we’ll fully adhere to our first-come, first-served shipping policy, and we’ll be continuously producing and shipping module pre-orders as quickly as we can. So far, module mass-production has been a smooth ride, but it’s just started, so we don’t have reliable metrics on how long it’ll take to assemble all modules. We’ll provide you an estimate in our next monthly update.
In the meantime, make sure to update your address if you have moved to another location since your order.
Agent has evolved quite a bit recently, and now it’s able to detect every module and configure the actions of module keys and buttons.
A seamless experience of a fully-fledged product is kind of magical, and I believe that the above demo exemplifies it well. You can take a look at Agent’s web demo, which now includes the modules, too. We’re working hard to make the modules not only work for you but amuse you.
UHK 60 v2 progress
Two issues are blocking UHK 60 v2 production: PBT keycaps and plastic parts.
We’ve received a new PBT keycap sample set for approval since the last monthly update. This sample is a definite improvement over the previous one, but some keycaps’ shine-thru performance, especially the convex keycaps’, should be better. Our supplier is doing their best to maximize shine-through performance and provide improved samples soon.
As for the plastic parts of the UHK 60 v2, they’re larger than the modules and can only be molded with a larger machine. We have a great supplier who proved themselves, but due to a sudden influx of foreign orders, they’re quite overwhelmed these days and can only mold UHK 60 v2 parts around the end of April.
Most of you are very patient regarding such delays and primarily concerned about the quality of the final product which we highly appreciate, and we resonate with your mindset. Others are less patient which is understandable. We have dozens of suppliers, and even if one of them introduces a delay, the whole project gets delayed. These delays are often unexpected, and they’re among the top reasons why shipping hardware is so much harder than shipping software. We’ll do our best to push forward. We’re making sure that the wait worths it, and we’ll be keeping you updated.
You guys keep sending your awesome tweets, and we're always eager to read and feature them! If you got your modules, please share your love!
More than I year after purchase I must say it’s the best keyboard I have ever had and will! Great job the this small little company, amazing! #UltimateHackingKeyboard @UltHackKeyboard pic.twitter.com/0BzmgqC1UL— V.PhD (@vpumine) March 7, 2021
We’ll be keeping you updated on all things UHK and are looking forward to talking to you in mid-April. There’s a lot to do nowadays, so the update may be a bit late, but I’ll do my best.