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Someone spent over four years and $1,000 building the perfect keyboard click-testing machine

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HaaTa / Deskthority

So you like clicky keyboards. If that’s the case, you probably have a favorite model (or switch type) — maybe, for example, the one my colleague Paul Miller recently dubbed “the clickiest keyboard of all time.” But Deskthority forum member and mechanical keyboard expert HaaTa reminds us that these pronouncements are a fool’s errand, for there is no way a mere human could really, objectively judge the nature of a click.

For that, you would need something like the Force Curve Gauge, a fairly remarkable side project that HaaTa lays out in detail. As the name suggests, it’s a jury-rigged device that measures force curve — the relationship between the distance of a keypress and the force it transfers, or to we users, how much tactile feedback we get while hitting keys. So instead of describing whether a keyboard feels good or bad, you can point to something like this:

The catch is that coming up with any kind of consistent, meaningful data requires serious precision and solid equipment. Just one of the pieces, the force gauge stand, apparently cost about $1,000, and setting the entire machine up took a substantial amount of tinkering — the picture above is from an early prototype. You’re probably not going to buy your next keyboard based on a force graph, but if your co-workers complain about the clicking, maybe you can point to one to explain just why you love it.