BOSTON – The Whirlwind FX Element keyboard is a full-size RGB mechanical model that costs only $100. That’s a promising start, but what really sets the Element apart is that it can react to whatever’s happening onscreen, with any game that you choose. The process requires quite a bit of programming know-how, but if you’re willing to sit down and script something ambitious, the Element can be both gorgeous and useful.

I went hands-on with the Whirlwind FX Element at PAX East 2020, and came away with two thoughts: “This has the potential to be very cool,” and “Who’s going to go through all this trouble?” Before PAX East, a Whirlwind FX representative got in touch with me and claimed that the Element was the “first RGB keyboard with real-time dynamic lighting effects for ANY game” (emphasis theirs). What I didn’t know going in was that while this is technically true, it can take a lot of work.


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