Hackaday Prize Entry: HID Dial

Microsoft has introduced a few interesting bits of hardware recently, and the most drool worthy by far is the Microsoft Surface Dial. What is this magical input device that will revolutionize creative work on a computer? Basically, it’s a Griffin PowerMate — a rotary encoder and button — an interface that really hasn’t changed in a decade and a half.

[K.C. Lee] figures a device this simple would make for a great Hackaday Prize entry, so he built a USB HID multimedia dial. It’s a rotary encoder and a button. This one lights up, though, making this a gamer USB HID multimedia dial.

The electronics for this build are based around the STM8S003, an extraordinarily cheap microcontroller that will work well enough in this application. The mechanical part of this build is a little more interesting; [K.C.] says not everyone has access to fancy CNC or 3D printing equipment, so he built this model out of bits of plastic, metal, and superglue. This enclosure is literally an old superglue bottle cap, an empty dental floss spool, and bits of metal. It works, and took less time to build than it would take to design in a CAD program.

Right now, [K.C.] is working through some USB issues with the STM8 microcontroller. Once those issues are behind him, he’ll have a very cool and very useful input device sitting on his desk. It might look like parts waiting for the recycling bin, but it will be at least as useful as the fancy Microsoft version.

10 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: HID Dial

  1. Nicely done! and I agree with K.C. — I long for the day I can afford my own mill — manual or CNC, I don’t much care. I’m not skilled or precise enough to build one that’s reliable (and I know it), and even the cheap Chinese eBay junk is well out of my price range… I only need to do 2D work most of the time — holes in things, but in an orderly manner that can’t be achieved with hand tools (particularly since I’m all thumbs!) or a power drill…

    1. I think a “drill press” is the solution to the problem of needing “orderly holes”. You can find a jig that is essentially a stand/holder for your existing power drill, just to keep it upright and ensure proper vertically centered motion.

    1. I just was thinking about an ATtiny85 version…
      …but maybe wireless (IR? NRF24L01+? BLE?) would be a great addition too?

      Added to my acceleratedly expanding (dark energy inside!) todo list…

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