At this point, the DIY keyboard community is so popular that there’s a design to meet almost every possible need. If you head to the niche side, you’ll find ortho-linear layouts, blank key switches, and a very low key count. Combine it all and you get Keezyboost40 by Christian Lo.
Keezyboost40 is about as minimalistic as a keyboard can get without using stenotype chord key sets. It only has 40 keys, which means it has to rely heavily on layers to represent all the common characters. But it reduces the size. To further reduce the size, Lo chose to give keezyboost40 an ortholinear layout. This puts all the keys in a nice, tidy grid that takes up as little space as possible. To make the keyboard as thin as possible (only 16.5mm), it uses low-profile Kailh Cho key switches and low-profile keycaps. For added 1337 credibility (and to avoid mismatched layers/captions), all of these caps are blank and unlabeled.
The only superfluous component on the entire keyboard is a portrait-oriented 1.8″ LCD screen mounted between the two halves of the keyboard. This can show animations, configuration information (like the current layer) or even games. A full set of SMD (Surface Mount Device) diodes prevents ghosting and a suitable minimalist 3d printed enclosure frames the keezyboost40 PCB. To control the LCD screen and send key presses to a connected computer, Lo used a Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller development board. It runs firmware programmed in Rust (a language we don’t see often) based on Keyberon.
This type of keyboard is definitely not for everyone and you will need to retrain your typing muscle memory if you are not used to ortholinear layouts. But for the right person, keezyboost40 is the perfect compact mechanical keyboard.