66% or better

FrankenKindle: building an alternate Kindle keyboard

If you’ve ever thought the Kindle keyboard was a bit cramped you’re not alone. [Glenn's] been working on developing an external keyboard for the Kindle for quite some time. It may not make easier for everyone to use, but he’s motivated to improve usability for his sister who has Cerebral Palsy.

We see a lot of keyboard hacks that solder straight to the pads under the buttons, but for a compact device like the Kindle this would really mess things up. Instead of going that route, [Glenn] sourced a 20-pin Flexible Flat Cable and breakout board that match the internal Kindle connector. The prototype seen above uses a TS3A5017 serial multiplexer chip to simulate the keyboard button presses. That multiplexer is driven by a Teensy++ microcontroller board which is monitoring a larger set of buttons on the V.Reader seen above. Check out the video after the break for a brief demonstration, then look around at the rest of [Glenn's] blog posts to view different steps of the development cycle.

[Thanks Hybridblue]

Comments

  1. FractalBrain says:

    I like it. If it can be, as he said, blackboxed, simplified and sped up a bit, there are a number of problems that could be tackle. Ok, well, my brain seems to have fixed on only one of them: Hang the kindle in front of our treadmill and attach some page turn buttons to the handles.

    Good job. Im looking forward to checking out the progress of the FrankenKindle so I can get the confidence to void my warranty.

  2. Cid says:

    Since this is a kindle-hacking post: Is there any way to convert the space button into a “Next Page” button?

    It would be really nice for portrait reading mode.

    If anyone knows how to do it, please comment.

  3. Whatnot says:

    Didn’t they root the kindle? And if so is it possible to add some sort of wireless or USB keyboard?
    Keep in mind that I know very little about the kindle (except that it’s extremely amazon-bound), so I might be talking nonsense.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with using this method but having a bunch of wires with a breadboard and assorted parts hanging from it can’t be good for portability I’m figuring :)

    On the plus side this should give a lot of ideas and information for various hacks so it’s nice if someone is doing it, and sharing info.

  4. Paul says:

    @Cid it’s been done. Check the MobileRead.com forums under Kindle hacking.

    @WhatNot. Should be possible too. BTW, the Kindle is not extremely Amazon-bound. You can happily read non-Amazon content on it.

  5. harald says:

    So nice, awesome.

  6. Rebs says:

    I found a USB based external keyboard…now the trouble is figuring out how to get the Kindle Fire to recognize it. Check out the specific product here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OB0EBQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&m=A1JA97LV3KNY8Q

    Is there some USB host setting/ or something like that that can be changed? Any of you have an idea?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s