Every time we log onto a Zoom or Microsoft Teams session, our hearts do a little flutter — not out of excitement to do our jobs, or to marvel at the wonders of communications technology’s progress, of course. No, it’s simply because we’re afraid we forgot to turn off our cameras and microphones ahead of time so we aren’t caught in some embarrassing act like picking our teeth or shouting something horrifically, fire-ably offensive.
Oh, and it’s not just us we’re worried about, either; but all those Jeffrey Toobin’s of the world who aren’t doing their due diligence before logging onto a meeting. It’s with all this in mind that we find ourselves pretty excited to see this Kickstarter for a ridiculously huge mechanical keyboard setup specifically calibrated for video conference shortcuts. Everyone, meet the adorable, adorably-named ChonkerKeys.
The absolute unit of mechanical keyboard add-ons — As you can see, the ChonkerKeys setup is large. Very large. We believe some might even use the term “thicc” to describe the wired USB-C mechanical accessory designed to give users clear, obvious hotkeys for video meeting sessions.
While currently configured to work perfectly on Zoom via Windows 10 and macOS, the minds behind ChonkerKeys are aiming to include functionality for many other virtual meeting platforms, including Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, and many others. ChonkerKeys also touts some pretty killer customization options, too, with fully modular key placement and configuration settings.
Actual accessibility benefits — Another, perhaps not as obvious, benefit to ChonkerKeys is its potential use as an accessibility aid. As one Redditor pointed out a while back upon seeing a prototype, this could be “amazing” for people with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.
“We want to see if this may be something that can help folks that have trouble using typical computing devices such as keyboards with small keys or touch screens that are too sensitive,” ChonkerKeys’ devs explain on their Kickstarter page, adding that they are very open to hearing feedback on ways to improve their product before its set to begin shipping in February of next year.
The big boi cometh — Initially hoping to raise about $19,000 for the device, ChonkerKeys has raised over $72,000 at the time of writing, with a week left to go in its fundraising stage. Investors can choose between the “Original” model that includes a microphone, webcam, screen sharing, reaction, and leave meeting buttons, or the “Max” version that tacks on an additional four video playback buttons. The Original pre-order will set you back $59, while the Max comes in at $78, both with a standard one-year warranty.
If you buy one and still manage to expose yourself on a video call, perhaps you wanted to expose yourself all along?