Josh flew in from Oregon today, and he brought the physical prototype of the Stenosaurus with him!
One of the most common questions when we announced the Stenosaurus a few weeks ago was "Is this a joke?!" Nope! Hilarious name and logo aside, this thing is 100% legit. There it is on the table of the restaurant we had lunch at. This isn't the functional prototype, of course; the circuit board hasn't been designed yet and the firmware hasn't been coded. When you open it up, this is what you see:
Just the attachments for the mechanical keys. The real model will have electronics inside, and ports for the USB cable and SD card in the back. But this model was perfect for gauging the touch and feel of the device. Plus it was just so beautiful; far more than you can see from my blurry camera phone pictures. The bamboo and aluminum set each other off gorgeously, and the entire design was just so intuitive and sensible. I could hardly take my eyes off it.
The action was surprisingly smooth and comfortable, considering that it had the same sorts of mechanical keys I was used to from using my late lamented Filco Majestouch, which always left me a bit fatigued after an hour-long Plovering session. The action on these felt lighter and less clacky, which made for a lovely writing experience. Still not as featherlight and shallow as my lever-based Infinity, of course, but worlds above both the Majestouch and the Sidewinder. And the texture of those anodized aluminum keys? Heaven. This picture shows the keys at their highest setting, which was ideal. Josh tried moving them down a bit, so they were parallel with the bamboo of the casing, but that wasn't as comfortable; I found my thumbs hitting the sides of the bamboo when they were at their lowest point, which I think would have become kind of annoying after an extended period of writing. Set higher up, though, there's no interference from the case at all, so that'll definitely be the default.
Action shot! (Yes, I wore the T-shirt especially for the occasion.)
It was perfect for my (rather small) hands, but we talked about possibly beefing it up a bit to accommodate even giant gorilla paws like Josh's. And we talked about putting a set of magnets on the inside back cover to accommodate various accessories, such as a tripod attachment (it'll have a smooth back by default) or the flaps of a small protective case. We even talked about the possibility of making a special "steno laptop" case (following a suggestion by Paulo Paniago), which could accommodate a small tablet PC for all-in one steno action. That would probably have to be a stretch goal, but it's an incredibly exciting possibility.
I'm so delighted with this thing. You have no idea. It just felt so good to write on! Josh is hoping to get enough time off from his day job to be able to design the electronics and firmware in the next few months, and then we'll launch the crowdfunding campaign. I can't wait until this thing comes into proper existence. It's gonna be glorious.
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