Atreus Gets A TrackPoint And Layer LEDs

Fancy, split keyboards are cool and all, and they can really help with repetitive strain injury issues depending on a lot of different factors. But the big, glaring problem is that they often lack nice features that regular keyboards have — things like a number pad, media buttons, or in [discordia]’s case, a ThinkPad-style pointing stick. Fortunately, there’s a perfect spot for one between the two halves of the Keyboardio Atreus.

[discordia] is happy with the Atreus, but the whole layers thing can take some getting used to. Since Atreus only has 44 keys, it utilizes a layering system to change their function to cover all the keys you’d find on a full keyboard. After getting stuck in one rarely-used layer for a while, they decided to remedy the situation with some RGB LEDs to indicate the active layer. If you’ve got an Atreus that could use a few upgrades, check out [discordia]’s step-by-step instructions for adding a trackpoint and one-wire RGB LEDs.

If you have an old enough ThinkPad on your hands, then you may want to liberate the clicky keyboard, too.

7 thoughts on “Atreus Gets A TrackPoint And Layer LEDs

  1. Neatly done.. Though I can’t understand that source keyboard design – why you would want to loose so many keys, if you are going to end up chording or pseudo chording with the different layers might as well just be a chording keyboard form the start.

    I think I’d have gone for a steam controller pad playing trackball, though maybe with that keyboard it wouldn’t fit in ergonomically enough – really needs hands on it. The IBM joystick mouse used to be by far my favourite of the compact integrated pointing devices so I’d probably like this – but recently I really have fallen for trackballs and the steam controller playing trackball – so smooth, rapid flicks to cross the screen and precision pointing. That said a cheap trackball like the Logitech on my desk isn’t all that nice – it really needs a smooth low friction ball rolling experience and that one isn’t great to start with and gums up quickly needing fairly frequent cleaning, still alright when its just been cleaned and well worth the price – its the one that gets thrown in my bags to take places.

    1. It’s a nice keyboard. Sure, it takes a bit to learn where the shifted/layered keys are, but your hands basically don’t move, and there is no stretching your fingers to reach the number row, or the far left and right columns. Also, for typing letters, you can almost jump right in, especially if you are already using a staggered column keyboard. It took me two weeks to train from a standard staggered row keyboard to the staggered column of the keyboardio model 01, and maybe five days to switch to the atreus, while keeping generally the same typing speed on all three. The size is great for just tossing it your bag to take to work or use with a laptop. On top of that, if your using the chrysalis software they are developing for it, you can have up to seven layers, so your keyboard effectively has 300 keys (308 minus the seven keys assigned to each layer and one for the function key). I think the only limit if you program it directly through the Arduino IDE is the memory of the microcontroller. Plus, if you don’t like the position of a key, change it. The only thing I would change about the atreus is using the palm keys from the model 01 for the fun(ction) key, but that would make it bigger.

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