An inside look at Kumo - The Next Generation MiniVan
Hello! I am Evan, the creator of the MiniVan keyboard (https://www.massdrop.com/buy/minivan-keyboard). For the last several months I have been working on the next evolution of the MiniVan keyboard. This is the first MiniVan with a plastic case.
You can check it out on Kickstarter.
What is Kumo?
Kumo is Japanese for 'Cloud'. Steven, art director for TheVan Keyboards, lives in Japan and I live in the USA. We wanted to embrace both of our homes with this launch. We have incorporated both English and Japanese Legends into the keycap set. When we were children we use to look up to the clouds and imagine all sorts of things. We carry that on with Kumo. We see the endless possibilities of what a keyboard can be and do.
Producing a plastic case has several advantages.
Ultimately we would like to produce our HuB keycap profile. To get there we need to get into plastics. Our case is a relatively easy mold to do and is fairly inexpensive. This seemed like a great logical step for us to get closer to making HuB a reality.
Lowering Production cost and as a result lowering retail price is another huge benefit. Lowering the barrier to entry will allow us to share the joy of 40% keyboards with many more people.
This is the first MiniVan with RGB leds. A whopping 3 of them. In conjunction with our configurator you can easily redefine what the LEDs indicate and in which colors they do so. This is immensely useful for knowing which layers are active, seeing how long the tapping term is for tap keys, or indicating traditional keyboard states (num lock, caps lock, scroll lock, etc.)
Part of lowering that barrier to entry is removing soldering. No longer will you need special tools or knowledge. We have legofied the MiniVan keyboard to allow anyone to build and customize it!
Leveraging the fact that mx switches are square and designed to work in any orientation we have found a way to continue supporting all of our existing layouts in our new hotswap model. There are limitations to what layouts can be overlapped in comparison to a non hotswap PCB, however none of those affect the MiniVan.
We are excited to share Kumo with the Massdrop community and hope you will join us on our journey.
- Lowers production cost
- Gets us into plastic production
- Reduces production time
- Tons of color choices