A Macro Keyboard In A Micro Package

Remember back in the early-to-mid 2000s when pretty much every cheap USB keyboard you could find started including an abundance of media keys in its layout? Nowadays, especially if you have a customized or reduced-sized mechanical keyboard, those are nowhere to be seen. Whenever our modern selves need those extra keys, we have to turn to external peripherals, and [Gary’s] Knobo is one that looks like it could’ve come straight out of a fancy retail package.

The Knobo is a small macro keypad with 8 mechanical Cherry-style keys and a clickable rotary encoder knob as its main feature. Each key and knob gesture can be customized to any macro, and with five gestures possible with the knob, that gives you a total of thirteen inputs. On top of that, the build and presentation look so sleek and clean we’d swear this was a product straight off of Teenage Engineering’s money-printing machine.

The actions you can do with those inputs range from simple media controls with a volume knob all the way to shortcuts to make a Photoshop artist’s life easier. Right now you can only reprogram the Knobo’s Arduino-based firmware with an In-Circuit Serial Programmer to change what the inputs do, but [Gary] is currently working on configuration software so that users without any programming knowledge will be able to customize it too.

Knobs are just one of those things that everyone wants to use to control their computers, much like giant red buttons. Alternative input devices can range from accessibility-designed to just downright playful. Whatever the inspiration is for them, it’s always nice to see the creativity of these projects.

9 thoughts on “A Macro Keyboard In A Micro Package

    1. I use foot pedal for my mouse click to stave off the RSI. Old keyboard + plastic pedals + LuaMacros (separates multiple keyboards) + Autohotkey. The scripting is super janky because Windows doesn’t handle multiple input devices nicely. I’m going to port it to AutoHotInterception which should unjank it. I’ll submit to HaD once it’s ported

      1. That’s a sound idea. I don’t click much but definitely over use ctrl and alt as a emacs user.

        It’s not so bad since I’ve always used caps lock or palmed it.

        Still like you say RSI is worth avoiding.

        Some cheap guitar foot pedals and any of the USB keyboard emulating micros would work I imagine.

        I’m not sure if it’ll be enough actually does it matter is the modifier key comes from a different keyboard?

        1. “does it matter is the modifier key comes from a different keyboard?”

          No, windows takes all usb hid keyboards and puts them into the same key-input queue.
          Even toggles like caps lock will be synced over all the keyboards.

          My last couple macro key panels I programmed the microcontroller to use function keys 13 to 24.
          Most keyboards only have the first 12 F keys, so this way it has ‘unique’ keys to bind to in software, and don’t have to worry about accidentally triggering the hotkey on the real keyboard.

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