Mitosis: Anatomy of a Custom Keyboard

Ergonomic. Wireless. Low-latency. Minimalist. Efficient. How far do you go when you design your own open-source keyboard? Checking off these boxes and providing the means for others to do so, Redditor [reverse_bias] presents the Mitosis keyboard, and this thing is cool.

The custom, split– as the namesake implies — mechanical keyboard has 23 keys on each 10 cm x 10 cm half, and, naturally, a custom keymapping for optimal personal use.

Upper and lower PCBs host the keys and electronic circuits respectively, contributing to the sleek finished look. Key caps and mechanical switches were ripped from sacrificial boards: two Waveshare core51822 Bluetooth modules are used for communication, with a third module paired with a Pro Micro make up the receiver.[reverse_bias] spent a fair bit of time attempting to minimize the power consumption of the keyboard so it could be powered by a pair of coin batteries, giving it an estimated six month lifespan of daily use.  These are pinched between the upper and lower boards by little dabs of solder and the slight spring tension of the boards themselves. However, a bit of de-soldering is required to change the battery.

Laser-cut adhesive neoprene adorns the base, proving a comfortable springiness, grip, and protection for the pins as well as cushioning from any debris on the desk. The final product has almost zero flex, has a low enough profile to negate the need for a wrist rest. If you’re interested in building your own, [reverse_bias] has linked all the relevant files here.

Of course, one could always go the opposite way and opt for a more heavyweight option.

[Thanks for the tip, Tyberius Prime!]

14 thoughts on “Mitosis: Anatomy of a Custom Keyboard

  1. 40 images!

    Looks like the two layers use the same PCB design, with some notches cut to allow bits to be removed for the top layer. Quite clever, saves on production costs.

  2. Laser cutting adhesive neoprene is generally not a good idea. Neoprene (also known as polychloroprene) is a family of synthetic rubbers that are produced by the polymerization of chloroprene.

    When you burn it, it produces chlorine gas. Same reason why you don’t cut PVC on a laser.

    There are better materials you can use that would be similar in functionality though.

  3. This statement: “However, a bit of de-soldering is required to change the battery” is not correct.
    The battery is held in by the spring tension of the 2 PCBs. No unsoldering required.
    Thanks.

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