There's geeky, and then there's GEEKY. Rest assured, I mean that in the most positive of ways, because this may very well be the coolest, most bad-ass tech-themed business card you've ever seen.
The brainchild of TechKeys, a company that specializes in custom keys for mechanical keyboards, the 'business card' moniker doesn't do this baby any justice as it also doubles as a printed circuit board (PCB) with some pretty cool functionality. Specifically, this business card is also a functioning keyboard. And oh yes, it's hackable too.
The product description reads:
This PCB with on-board re-programmable ATMEGA16U2 allows for full flexibility for hackers, tinkerers, and makers. Take home one of these as a project, keycap display, switch tester, or a shortcut to yours truly, TechKeys.us.
Below, you can check out a video of the dual-use business card in action.
Of course, to get things going, you'll need some basic soldering skills to attach keys to the card itself. Once there, simply connect the card to your computer via USB and the pre-programmed keys will either take you to the TechKeys website or the company's Facebook page. A third key works to launch an email client.
Based out of Chicago, I was able to catch up with TechKeys founder Brad Agdern. An IT consultant by day, Agdern has an increasingly popular side business selling custom-made keyboard keys to geeks and keyboard enthusiasts alike.
When I asked Brad how he came up with the idea to develop a rather atypical business card, he explained that he's always had a fascination with business cards. In fact, this business card is already the seventh iteration he's seen through to completion. Previous business cards from TechKeys have included holograms and laser-cut metal cards.
"I kept trying to outdo the previous version," Agdern explained, "and when I had the idea to make a functioning card, I knew I had to see it through. This one will be tough to top, but I have other ideas in the works already for other cards."
As for the timeline from product conception to completion, Agdern relayed that the entire process took about five to six months.
From the idea's conception until the final product was about 5-6 months. There was initial designing of the circuitry and tinkering with different layouts of keys, but once that was finalized, a prototype was made. This way I was able to confirm that the circuitry was accurate, and could experiment with different programs to run on the controller. Luckily, the prototype worked well and only minor changes were made on the final release. The cards were produced in China, and took several weeks for production and shipment
In conceiving the idea, Agdern was particularly attuned to and inspired by business cards that not only conveyed information, but also reflected the underlying business the card sought to advertise.
I asked Agdern if there were any business cards in particular that served as a source of inspiration.
I have seen several that were inspirational. I love a card that serves a function that pertains to the the card owners practice. I saw a musicians card that plays music when run through a music box. There was a locksmith that had a card that dissembles into a lock pick.
Some are just elegant in design which I can appreciate as well. Going outside the box of a standard paper card impresses and intrigues me.
If you're intrigued, you can pick up one of these high-tech business cards for just $12 over here.