The Keypad Contest


What can you do with ten buttons and ten lights? A lot.

[Andrew] and [Nathan] found a collection of Hale Research keypads being thrown out, and decided to host the Keypad Contest. The goal of the contest was to create something nifty using the ten buttons and ten lights on the keypad, and an ATtiny2313 that replaced the original 8051-compatible microcontroller in the device.

[Andrew] wanted to try making PCBs with his home-built CNC machine, so he milled out USBtinyISP programmers for the ATtiny2313. Then he gave out eleven development kits to a group, and explained how to develop on the hardware.

After a month of hacking, seven people completed projects. The winner was an internet radio controller, which had the keypad sending serial data to a TP-Link WR703N router. The router used a USB sound card and OpenWRT firmware to stream music. The runner up was a timing game called “Capture”.

The contest write up has details on all seven projects. [Andrew] and [Nathan] were successful in getting software engineers to try hardware with this contest, resulting in some neat hacks. After the break, check out a video demo of the internet radio controller.

11 thoughts on “The Keypad Contest

  1. I thought the contest was “What can you do with ten lights and ten buttons”, but the winner seemed to think he was in a contest called “What can you do with ten lights, ten buttons, and a wifi enabled SBC”. Everyone else seemed to stick to the spirit of the rules, and lost because of it? I’d be pissed if I participated in this.

    1. Yep, he just used it as a fronted to something else. Basically what he did, was to made a serial extension to the board. What happens beyond that should not have been included in the compo, IMO.

    2. The winner was chosen by a vote of everyone else who completed a project (those that were also “competing”). There were some unexpected technical hurdles that he had to overcome to complete the project. These issues were covered in his in-person demonstration and presentation–unfortunately, not all of those details came out in the wiki or video presentation.

  2. I dunno, unless the 8051’s were OTP (One Time Programmable), I think it would’ve been just as cool (cooler?) to re-purpose those… Yes, I’m old, now get off my lawn!

    Axe-Man surplus (in the Twin Cities-MSP-STP) runs a contest each year where the participants use stuff that Axe-Man sells. Last I saw it, there were several categories, including artistic (non-functional).

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