As promised, the latest project from TheVan Keyboards, the compact Kumo, is now live on Kickstarter. Pitched as “the reliable MiniVan keyboard in a more accessible, user friendly package,” the Kumo is a 40% keyboard that’s fully programmable and is designed for optimal portability and flexibilty.
“Portability” and “flexibilty” are kind of buzzwords, but TheVan crew really means it. Not only is the Kumo a little fella with a detachable cable, it gets a GUI for configuring the layout, so ostensibly adding layers and special functions like media buttons and such are easy.
But it also offers hot-swap switch sockets, which gives you the freedom to make this keyboard feel like you want it to. (Or, if you’re one of “those” people, you can load up different sockets with different types and weights of switches.) The switch options listed on the Kickstarter include Kailh Gold (clicky), Burgundy (linear), and Purple (tactile); it’s a little unclear if these are the final options or not. You will, in any case, get 50 of them with your Kumo.You also get 52 PBT keycaps designed for MX-style mounts, in a white and gray colorway. Obviously, the Kumo is configured such that you can swap these out for replacements willy nilly. To further facilitate the Kumo’s flexibility, all 52 caps have a uniform profile, so you can lay them out however you wish without having to concern yourself too much with which row you’re on.
The case is translucent and injection molded, and there appears to be some RGB backlighting involved.
The Kumo project is looking for $85,000 to come to fruition. In the short time since I started writing this article, the pledges have shot from around $5,000 to over $12,000, so clearly Kumo is already gaining some fairly serious traction. (Edit: Now over $14,000.) A pledge of $125 gets you an “Early Flight,” and once those run out, you’ll be on the hook for $150.
There are 29 days to go in the campaign; it ends Friday, August 17 at 11:48am CDT.