In Circulate’s most recent feature piece, “To make things better, make better things”, Rapanui co-founder Martin Drake-Knight makes the point that good economics and a healthy environment are too often represented as oppositions. He argues that the best of both worlds is achievable through the combination of creative design, business and communication choices. The article is well worth a read, it combines big picture perspective with an insight into how Rapanui’s innovative business model has achieved success.

That’s where a Hungarian startup, Ultimate Gadget Laboratories (UGL), might just come in. UGL is currently seeking funding to produce the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UKL), an ergonomic device that has a high level of durability and repairability at the core of its design.

Credit: UGL
Credit: UGL

iFixit, often the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to the repairability of electronic devices, said this about the UHK:

“[The UHK] is proof positive that even compact, performance-designed, single-purpose gadgets can be designed for repair, from the ground up – complete with repair documentation”.

The keyboard is fully modular, is built with high quality materials and even collects data on the amount of usage to help advise when different parts are likely to need replacing.

Credit: UGL

However, just as is the case with Rapanui, the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard needs to be able to compete in the marketplace. László Monda, founder and lead developer of the UHK, spoke to Circulate about the need to create a product that was ‘better’ than others in the marketplace.

“I think our major differentiator is being ergonomic and compact at the same time. It’s a super rare combination in itself. Also, our layout allows users to never leave the home row which increases productivity. Topping this with features like full programmability and mouse control results in a very distinctive value proposition.”

Starting at $200, the UHK is expected to be cost competitive with other ergonomic keyboards and crucially, its design, repairability and durability features should facilitate a more effective business model in the longer-term.

As Martin writes in his article, there are “companies outcompeting business as usual, proving that the best of both worlds is possible”.

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