Giant Fabric Keyboard

[ladyada] pointed us in the direction of this giant fabric keyboard built by [Maurin Donneaud]. The construction of it looks fairly simple, like the buttons used in [fbz]’s WiFi detecting backpack strap, but on a larger scale. We’ll take you through its construction, pictures and all, after the break.

[Maurin] used several lengths of conductive fabric, a perforated foam core, and an Arduino.

Pictured above is the foam core being punched. The holes will create contact points between the conductive layers. The grid shows where the keys of the keyboard will be in the finished version.

After that, the conductive layers, and inner foam layer are sewn together. The conductive layers are placed in opposing directions, creating a switch matrix.

An Arduino is used to translate each step into a button press. While full design specs are nowhere to be found, the higher resolution photos on [Maurin]’s Flickr stream should give you enough of an idea to build your own.

[via ladyada]

10 thoughts on “Giant Fabric Keyboard

  1. why an arduino and not an ordinary salvaged keyboard controller? speaking of which, i’d like to see some bizarre input device hacks based on keyboard and mouse controllers.

  2. Bizarre input device hacks?

    How about removing the LED from an optical mouse, and placing a tiny mass of an alpha emitter next to the small CCD in there, then enclosing the device in something opaque? If the mouse cursor moves as a result, it might be a decent entropy source (if the Copenhagen Interpretation is correct, anyway).

    I can understand why they chose an Arduino. The 16×8 matrix you need to work with to determine keypresses on a keyboard controller is cumbersome for projects that use only a few keys. This approach is simpler if you know how to get a microcontroller to spit out keyboard scancodes.

  3. This reminds me of an idea I’ve had for a long time. It would be a mat like this, but instead of letters it would have different conclusions on it. That way you could jump to different conclusions. A jump to conclusions mat!

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