I second the nomination for the Zealencio silencing clips. GMK clips were a fine idea but they are useless for the vast majority of mechanical keyboard users since they only support PCB mounted switches. But Zealencios also work with plate-mounted switches, which is an amazing feat of engineering and also a response to the true needs of the community. Although they haven't shipped yet, I am going on the strength of Zeal's reputation, the typing demonstration
, but most importantly the fact they would likely not meet next year's award cut-off since they are shipping imminently.
I would nominate Ellipse's F62/F77 mechanical buckling spring replica keyboard project. There is more to a great project than just technical design. It is surely a huge logistical challenge to get the keyboards produced in quantity in a foreign factory, and I don't recall any recent project that is this audacious. Also, Ellipse's obsessive attention to detail sets a high standard for the community. However this project has won last year's Best Input Device category and I am not sure if it is admissable for this year as well.
I also nominate MrBishop's Alps Switch Top Removal Tool (GH thread
, DT thread
). It is sometimes necessary to open Alps switches, for lubrication or modification. But this normally requires a fair amount of effort and the use of both hands to pry open the switch, which is inconvenient especially if the switch is loose or is mounted in a lightweight object. The Alps Switch Top Removal Tool is a simple yet effective tool that makes opening up Alps switches a breeze, as MrBishop's demonstration video illustrates:
Also, MrBishop has released the design files for the tool as open source, which deserves credit.