Happy Hacking Keyboard

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Happy Hacking Keyboard
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2.jpg
A white Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 with blank keycaps
ManufacturerPFU Limited
KeyswitchesDepending on model: Membrane, capacitive
KeycapsEither dye-sublimated or blank PBT, ABS for spacebars on some models.
InterfaceDepending on model: PS/2, Sun, ADB, USB, Bluetooth
Weightapprox. 500 g – depending on model
Introduced20 December 1996; 24 years ago (1996-12-20) (original version)

10 December 2003; 17 years ago (2003-12-10) (HHKB Professional first-generation)

24 March 2006; 15 years ago (2006-03-24) (HHKB Professional second-generation)

10 December 2019; 16 months ago (2019-12-10) (HHKB Professional third-generation)
Discontinued10 December 2006; 14 years ago (2006-12-10) (original version, HHKB Professional first-generation) 10 December 2019; 16 months ago (2019-12-10) (HHKB Professional second-generation)
Websitehhkeyboard.com

The Happy Hacking Keyboard is a small computer keyboard produced by PFU Limited of Japan, codeveloped with Japanese computer scientist and pioneer Eiiti Wada.[1] Its reduction of keys from the common 104-key layout down to 60 keys in the professional series is the basis for its smaller size while retaining full key size. It returns the control key to its original position as on the early 84-key IBM Personal Computer/AT and XT layouts. The current models[2] in production are the Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Classic,[3] Professional Hybrid (wired/wireless dual connectivity),[4] and Professional Hybrid Type-S[5] (silenced variant of Hybrid) all in either dark or light colorways, and either blank or printed keycaps. Professional Hybrid models are also available in Japanese layout.

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Frustrated that each new computer system came with a new keyboard layout that became increasingly complex, Eiiti Wada sought to create his own keyboard that he could continue to use with various different computer systems. Inspired by the original Macintosh keyboard,[6] Professor Wada and PFU collaborated to design the Happy Hacking Keyboard with the following philosophy:

“Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. When America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces.”

During the design process, Wada had mock-ups of the keyboard both with printed and blank keycaps; he found that his students quite liked blank keycaps and the tradition of HHKB's with blank keycaps continues to this day.

The first Happy Hacking keyboard (HHKB) was released in 1996 and used membrane keyswitches. It used PS/2, Sun, and ADB interfaces to connect to a computer with a detachable cable and is only available in white. The first HHKB was followed by the release of the HHKB Lite and HHKB Lite2 in 1999 and 2001 respectively. The HHKB Lite models also used membrane keyswitches but have a slightly different layout than the standard HHKB. The HHKB Lite is the first HHKB model to be available in black and the HHKB Lite2 is the first HHKB model to use the USB interface.

HHKB Professional Series[edit]

First-generation[edit]

The first HHKB Professional (not to be confused with the previously mentioned first HHKB) was released in December 2003 and is available in either white or charcoal (black) colorways with either blank or printed keycaps. Retroactively known as the HHKB Professional 1, this is the first HHKB model to use the famous Topre electrostatic capacitive keyswitches that all subsequent models use to this day. It also features a detachable mini-USB cable which is used to connect the keyboard to a computer.

Second-generation[edit]

The HHKB Professional 2 was released in March 2006 and is also available in either white or charcoal (black) with either blank or printed keycaps. Its main feature is a built-in 2-port USB hub for connecting mice and other peripherals.

In 2011, PFU released the HHKB Professional 2 Type-S. Only available in white (but with either blank or printed keycaps), the HHKB Professional 2 Type-S is a silenced variant of the HHKB Professional 2 containing silenced Topre keyswitches.

Another variant of the HHKB Professional 2 called the HHKB Professional BT, was released in 2016. This is the first HHKB to feature Bluetooth connectivity. HHKB Professional BT models run on AA batteries housed in a "battery bump" on the rear of the keyboard and can only be connected using Bluetooth (although these models have a micro-USB port, it can only be used to power the keyboard in place of batteries and not for data transmission).

Third-generation[edit]

The third-generation models of HHKB Professional: Classic, Hybrid, and Hybrid Type-S – were released in December 2019.[7] These third-generation models feature PBT space bars (previous models used ABS for the space bar) and USB-C connectivity instead of mini-USB. HHKB Professional Hybrid models run on AA batteries housed in a "battery bump", similarly to the previous HHKB Professional BT. However, unlike the HHKB Professional BT, these models can also be used with a wired connection via the USB-C port. HHKB Professional Hybrid models also support PFU's official key remapping software.

Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 with 68 labeled keys

Common features[edit]

Some of the Happy Hacking Keyboard design tenets, as dictated by Wada, include a minimal 60-key design, no cursor or function keys, and standard keyboard pitch, all optimized for use in Unix environments.[8]

Happy Hacking Keyboards lack a numeric keypad, and keys outside the typewriter key area are mainly accessible through the Fn key. The keys are arranged in a layout resembling the Sun Type 3 keyboard. Specifically:

  • The control key is placed where most keyboards place the caps lock. This is the only control key on the keyboard.
  • The esc key is located to the left of the 1 key; the tilde key normally found there is at the right end of the same row.
  • The delete key is located directly above the enter key; the key normally found there is the second-rightmost key on the row above it. Further, this is a true delete key, not a historically named backspace. Backspace is accessible via Fn+Delete though its function can be interchanged with the backspace key using a DIP switch, using this setting, the delete key is accessed via Fn+`
  • The meta keys are located between the space bar and the alt keys.

On the far side of the keyboard there are DIP switches. These may be used to:[9]

  • Turn the delete key into a backspace. Fn+Delete remains backspace, and Fn+` (top-right key) remains delete.
  • Swap the alt and meta keys.
  • Enable/disable downstream USB ports on USB models.
  • Set the OS
  • Enable/disable power-saving mode on HHKB Hybrid models

Its size is roughly half the size of DIN A4 paper.

Model overview[edit]

Model names with JP denote a Japanese layout variant.

Model name Model # Color Switch type Interface Blank keycaps Introduced EOL Notes
Happy Hacking Keyboard PD-KB02 White Membrane PS/2, Sun, ADB No Dec 20, 1996 Dec 10, 2006[10] Buzzer (Sun), Power supply switch (Sun/Mac)
PD-KB02N
Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite PD-KB100W White PS/2 Jun 7, 1999[11] Un­known Was also available in black and white unlabeled versions[12]
Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 PD-KB200W/P White Mar 15, 2001[13] Dec 19, 2008 Arrow keys, 2-port USB hub. Available in Japanese and English layouts.
PD-KB200B/P Black
PD-KB200W/U White USB
PD-KB200B/U Black
PD-KB210W/U White
PD-KB210B/U Black
PD-KB220W/U White
PD-KB220B/U Black
PD-KB220MKW White Mac version, has command and option keys in addition to the other Lite 2 features.[14]
PD-KB200MKB Black
PD-KB200MA White
PD-KB220MA White
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional PD-KB300 White Topre Capacitive[15] Apr 24, 2003 Dec 10, 2006[10] First HHKB to use Topre keyswitches
PD-KB300B Charcoal
PD-KB300NL White Yes
PD-KB300BN Charcoal
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 PD-KB400W White No Mar 24, 2006[16] December 10, 2019
PD-KB400B Charcoal
PD-KB400WN White Yes
PD-KB400BN Charcoal
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 JP PD-KB420W White No Nov 10, 2008
PD-KB420B Charcoal
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional HG[17] PD-KB500W White No Oct 12, 2006 Special 10-year anniversary models[18]
PD-KB500B Black
PD-KB500WN White Yes
PD-KB500BN Black
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional HG JAPAN[19] PD-KB500J Wajima-style lacquer
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 Type-S PD-KB400WS White No June 29, 2011 Silenced variant[20]
PD-KB400WNS Yes
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 Type-S JP PD-KB420WS No
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional BT[21] PD-KB600B Charcoal Bluetooth No Apr 12, 2016 First HHKB to use Bluetooth
PD-KB600BN Yes
PD-KB600W White No
PD-KB600WN Yes
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional BT JP PD-KB620B Charcoal No
PD-KB620W White
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Classic PD-KB401W White USB-C No December 10, 2019
PD-KB401WN Yes
PD-KB401B Charcoal No
PD-KB401BN Yes
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Hybrid PD-KB800W White dual mode USB-C or Bluetooth No
PD-KB800WN Yes
PD-KB800B Charcoal No
PD-KB800BN Yes
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Hybrid JP PD-KB820W White No
PD-KB820B Charcoal No
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Hybrid Type-S PD-KB800WS White No Silenced variant
PD-KB800WNS Yes
PD-KB800BS Charcoal No
PD-KB800BNS Yes
Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional Hybrid Type-S JP PD-KB820BS White No
PD-KB820WS Charcoal No

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IIJ Research Laboratory - Researchers". Internet Initiative Japan. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  2. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboard (manufacturer's site)". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  3. ^ "HHKB Professional Classic". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  4. ^ "HHKB Professional Hybrid". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  5. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboards Pro HYBRID Type-S Keyboard - HHKP & REALFORCE Keyboards". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  6. ^ "Eiiti Wada Mechanical Keyboard Community Interview | Massdrop". web.archive.org. 2018-09-26. Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  7. ^ "高性能コンパクトキーボード「Happy Hacking Keyboard」ラインナップ一新 | 株式会社PFU". www.pfu.fujitsu.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-04-02.
  8. ^ "Wada Eiiti". Computer Museum. Information Processing Society of Japan. Retrieved 2011-04-27.
  9. ^ "DIP switch functions". PFU Limited. Archived from the original on 2010-08-20. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  10. ^ a b "Happy Hacking Keyboard Specifications". PFU Limited. Archived from the original on 2013-01-07. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  11. ^ "PFU America releases "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite" for all PC/Linux users and power users". PFU Limited. 1999-06-01. Archived from the original on 2000-01-23. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  12. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite". PFU Limited. Archived from the original on 2001-10-24. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  13. ^ "PFU America Releases "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2"". AllBusiness. 2001-03-15. Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  14. ^ Murph, Darren (2007-01-26). "Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 for Mac touts Apple Key, demotes Caps Lock". Engadget. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  15. ^ "HHKB/Features/High quality keys". PFU Limited. Archived from the original on 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
  16. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2". AkibaLive. 2006-03-16. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  17. ^ "HHKB Professional HG Specs". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  18. ^ "The 3300 euros keyboard for PC". Akihabaranews. 2006-10-12. Archived from the original on 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  19. ^ "HHKB Professional HG JAPAN Specs". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  20. ^ "HHKB Professional 2 and JP Type-S press release". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2011-09-11.
  21. ^ "Happy Hacking Keyboard: HHKB Professional BT: PFU". PFU Limited. Retrieved 2016-04-12.

External links[edit]