Walkman-esque Human Interface Device

Cheap keyboards never come with extra buttons, and for [Pengu MC] this was simply unacceptable. Rather than go out and buy a nice keyboard, a microcontroller was found in the parts drawer and put to work building this USB multimedia button human interface device that has the added bonus of looking like an old-school Walkman.

The functions that [Pengu MC] wants don’t require their own drivers. All of the buttons on this device are part of the USB standard for keyboards: reverse, forward, play/pause, and volume. This simplifies the software side quite a bit, but [Pengu MC] still wrote his own HID descriptors, tied all of the buttons to the microcontroller, and put it in a custom-printed enclosure.

If you’re looking to build your own similar device, the Arduino Leonardo, Micro, or Due have this functionality built in, since the USB controller is integrated on the chip with everything else. Some of the older Arduinos can be programmed to do the same thing as well! And, with any of these projects, you can emulate any keypress that is available, not just the multimedia buttons.

15 thoughts on “Walkman-esque Human Interface Device

  1. I’ve browsed through the arduino library documentation and can’t find any reference to how you send the media keys using their libraries. Can someone help me with a link to where they talk about that?

      1. Just a little warning: This tutorial does not use multimedia keys. The multimedia keys are not supported under windows by the Teensy library or the Arduino library. Of course you can go the route of Pengu and still make it work by using it as a raw HID device, but that is something completely different from what this tutorial shows.

      1. Mr. 1991? Don’t let the number confuse you, gramps.

        I remember seeing the adverts for the very first Walkman when Sony had just come out with them. I’ve seen literally hundreds of them, and owned dozens (they were somewhat fragile). None of them resembled that thing whatsoever.

        Like I said, don’t let the number fool you. I was all grown up long before the year 1991.

        1. …and I almost forgot to add–Standard Curmudgeon Disclaimer:
          CAUTION! Tongue lodged firmly in cheek to retain personal illusion of sanity in highly insane world. Author assumes no liability for reader’s offense.

  2. Still have one of these around, w/the tuner insert even
    Too bad that even FM radio is so swamped with interference
    now that analog tuners are all but unusable where I located.
    I probably should have ebay’ed it about ten years ago
    when everyone still had and were paying crazy money for their nostalgia.
    Now get off that side my lawn ’cause you’re causing static in my analog receiver. ;^p

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