After first seeing the Azeron Gaming Keypad a few weeks back, we've secured some exclusive insights as to just how these strange, yet fascinating contraptions are put together: Basically, all by hand.
There are some videos floating around of the factory and production line, but above is a time-lapse of one of our test samples actually being made in its entirety—how that's done so flawlessly with that manicure is beyond me.
As we outlined in our previous post, the keypad is meant as a replacement for WASD in-game. It might look like a medieval torture device given a dayglo makeover, but it's just the opposite, a thing of gaming joy. The keypads feature an expansive array of buttons, a 5 way joystick, and a thumbstick, to boot, all arranged to be easily accessed from a resting position.
There's no need to fumble around your keyboard or—heaven forbid—look away from the screen mid-fight.
Sounds like a dream, right? The Azeron Keypad is the stuff of fantasy, for sure, but what really gets me about this company is how it's been raised up from such humble beginnings.
Imants, Azeron's founder, made the first keypad prototype in 2012. Since then, the design has evolved tenfold in terms of complexity, functionality and aesthetics. It's gone from a sanded slab of wood with some stiff, red buttons, to the technological wonder on the we see today. Now the thing comes in any colour you could dream of, including glow in the dark, and is fully adjustable to your hand size and shape.
The company has even just put out this awesome 3D customisation feature on the store, so you can really make it your own.
But that's not all that's evolved—the production line has moved on too. Going from a modest 3D printing setup in Imants' living room, to a fully functioning factory with 60 employees, and 70 Prusa i3 MK3S 3D printers, was no easy road. There were plenty of hurdles to overcome in the process, but with such brilliant minds at hand, a solution can always be found... case and point: this makeshift 3D printing spool holder.
I have a lot of respect for this kind of resourcefulness.
It's thinking like this that got Azeron where it is today, along with the astute mindset of "find a solution that feels right and natural." Okay, so threading a broom through a desk may not seem right, or natural, but it's a testament to how far the company has come.
From one man's dream of having all his Guild Wars abilities more easily accessible, to now producing more keypads in a single a day than founder, Imants, could produce in his living room over an entire month. And each of these is put together by expert hands over at the Azeron workshop in Latvia, where the company was born.