Switches from Omron Electronic Components Europe have been integrated into the latest gaming keypad from Latvian start-up Azeron.

Launched in July 2021, the Azeron Cyborg is the next-generation Azeron keypad that raises the bar in gaming with deep adjustability, full programmability and exceptional comfort. In addition, the Azeron keypad enables gaming for people who are left-handed or who have disabilities preventing them from using a traditional keyboard or gamepad. It offers completely new features and unrivalled ergonomics. The Cyborg has a redesigned button layout, with an extra button row and a side button for the little finger. This gives 24 or 29 programmable keys grouped around the user’s fingers and thumb so that a quick squeeze, push or flick is all that is required to trigger an action – with four or more keys accessible to each finger. Other features include a choice of two types of thumb stick modules. Within the Cyborg, 23 Omron D2F switches provide the electromechanical interface.

Imants Daigins, Product Designer and Founder of Azeron, said: “We have received universally good feedback on the switches since we standardised them in 2020, so decided to continue to use them in the Cyborg, our most versatile and flexible ever keypad. Influencers and tech reviewers with thousands of followers have confirmed that the Omron switches are high quality. You can feel the difference the first time you use the Azeronkeypad, and the effect doesn’t disappear over time.”

The key requirements for Azeron are durability and the ‘feel’ of the product to the user. Of course, it is also essential to Azeron’s reputation that the switches are tough enough to withstand fast, frequent keypresses over long periods. Azeron evaluated several alternatives before selecting Omron as their principal supplier of switches. They have found that D2F switches offer the durability Azeron and its users expect. Since Azeron adopted Omron switches, it has decreased its switch repairs by about 98%.

The feel of the switch is also important to the customer’s experience of the keypad and their success with their games. Azeron designers seek to provide users with a smooth travel, maintaining the same level of resistance throughout the movement of the key, with a nice crisp click to confirm operation. Omron switches provide the high quality feel they sought, with an operating force of between 140-160gf. This is heavy enough to provide a feeling of resistance but light enough to make the switch easy to actuate even when flicking the finger upwards.

Omron switches helped Azeron create a design that is highly reliable and adapts to disabled and left-handed players

Imants Daigins concluded: “The success of the Classic and Compact keypads in the market proved to us that Omron switches are the right solution for us and could withstand intensive use, sometimes in an aggressive competitive environment. Early reviews of the Cyborg encourage us to believe that we will see the same success with this product.”

Iker Saenz, Product Marketing Manager at Omron Electronic Components Europe, added, “It is exciting to be involved in this innovative project from a young start-up company especially as it aligns completely with Omron’s values of inclusivity. Azeron has completely reconceived the keyboard for gaming applications but their concept can equally be applied to other creative and editing programs such as graphics packages, music editing, video editing and audio-visual post processing. Their solution is regarded as an improvement on both the traditional keyboard and mouse and a joystick. This demanding design stretches Omron’s high quality electromechanical switches to the full.”

To achieve the high degree of individualisation and address the needs of individual customers, Azeron uses 3D modeling programs and 3D printers as its main production method. This allows it to customise any of the product’s plastic parts for each player individually (color, size, button layout), which is not a common practice in the world of video games. Most products are mass produced. This individual (and very demanding) approach, has given Azerona lot of credibility and recognition in the industry. Iker Saenz noted, “Omron’s mission is to improve people’s quality of life and contribute to a better society. The Azeron approach to production, that enables everyone to participate on equal terms in gaming and esports, is completely in line with this.”

Azeron has chosen the Omron D2F ultra-sub miniature basic micro switch features a sophisticated snap action mechanism constructed with two highly precise split springs to ensure a long and reliable service life. It is rated for 1 million mechanical operations. The D2F is available with a wide variety of terminal types and configurations including self-clinching PCB, right-angled, left-angled, and solder terminals. The switch is just 6.5mm (h) x 12.8mm (w) x 5.8mm (d) and incorporates insertion moulded terminals.

Azeron keypads with Omron switches have many applications beyond gaming such as creative and editing programs.