You know, the really sad truth about cyberdecks and cyberdeck-adjacent builds is that many of them just end up on the shelf, collecting dust while waiting for the dystopian future. Well, not this one. No, [jefmer] says their Portable Pi sees daily use, and even comes along on the go.
Since [jefmer] is “temperamentally unsuited to 3D printing”, the Pi 4B and its accessories are nestled in a rugged, splash-proof case under some acrylic sheets. One of those accessories, the keyboard, is a KPrepublic BM40 with Gateron Yellows. In order to get used to the number and symbols layer, [jefmer] laid down some great-looking labels above the keyboard.
Although the build started with an SD card for storage, [jefmer] has since upgraded to a 120 GB SSD. This required a beefy battery pack, but the difference is that it gets around four hours of power versus five hours when using an SD card.
This is a 48-key ortholinear keyboard, but other than that, it’s a complete blank slate. The kit includes the PCB, diodes, RGB LEDs, and Kailh Choc V1 hot swap sockets, which is really the only choice you don’t have in the matter.
All the rest is up to you, thanks to a generous prototyping area that wraps around three sides of the keys. Bring your own microcontroller and anything else that sounds useful, like displays, rotary encoders, gesture sensors, pointing devices, you name it.
You could even magnetically link a macro pad to one side, as [iketsj] teases in the intro video. [iketsj] has made the kit available through links on their website, and you’ll find a product guide there as well.
Sometimes you just have to throw your hat in the ring, and throw it hard. Here is [mkdxdx]’s rockin’ EVH 5150-esque take on the keyboard business. The Mriya foldable keyboard aims to be and sport a number of things, and it does all of them in great style. I could totally see my fingers flying over this thing somewhere in the wild, with robots fighting in the distance.
I have to say I really like the fact that [mkdxdx] uses thumb keys here for what I can only assume are Enter, Space, and Backspace. It’s a nice compromise between compactness and ergonomics. I also really like the totally impractical but quite cool-looking connector that runs between the top and bottom.
It seems like mechanical keyboard enthusiasts are more spoiled for choice with each passing day. But as broad as the open source pool has become, there’s still no perfect keyboard for everyone. So, as people innovate toward their own personal endgame peripherals and make them open source, the pool just grows and grows.
This beautiful addition to the glittering pool — [Bo Yao]’s Carpenter Tau keyboard — is meant to provide an elegant option at a particular intersection where no keyboards currently exist — the holy trinity of open source, programmable, and tri-mode connectivity: wired, Bluetooth, and 2.4 GHz.
Come for the lovely wooden everything, and stay for the in-depth logs as [Bo Yao] introduces the project and its roots, reviews various options for the controller, discusses the manufacture of the wooden parts, and creates the schematic for the 61-key version. Don’t want to build one yourself? It’ll be on Crowd Supply soon enough.
[sporewoh]’s keyboards have been steadily shrinking, and they built this in order to get the smallest possible form factor for the number of keys. Surprisingly, since the mouse switches have an actuation force similar to some heavier MX-style switches (~70 g), [sporewoh] is able to squeeze 85 WPM out of it, albeit with some argument from the wrists.
If you want to build a bunchiez40, everything is available on GitHub, including the CAD files for that lovely anodized aluminium case. The typing video is coming soon, and I’m taking bets on whether it’s as quiet as a mouse, as one redditor joked.
The Coleco Adam? A not-so-great home computer that likely contributed to the downfall of the company. The keyboard, however, is a different story, and worth repurposing.
[Nick Bild] has created a USB adapter that uses a Teensy 4.1 and an RJ-12 breakout board. Now this wasn’t just a simple matrix to decode. No, the fine folks at Coleco rolled their own communications protocol called AdamNet.
The keyboard uses an RJ-12 connector and a single data line to communicate over a 62.5 kbit/s, half-duplex serial bus. Inside the keyboard is a Motorola 6801 that caches the key presses and sends them to the computer. So the BOM is limited to what you see above — an RJ-12 breakout and a Teensy 4.1. It’s great to see old keyboards come alive again, especially one with such cool sci-fi keycaps. Want to hear it clack? Of course you do.
[crispernaki]’s opening comments to this VCR head scroll wheel project lament that overall technical details aren’t “complex, ground-breaking, or even exciting.” Since when does that matter? The point is that not only did the thing finally, eventually get built, it gets daily use and it sparks joy in its owner.
This feel-good story is one of procrastination, laziness, and one aha! moment, and it’s roughly twelve years in the making. Inspired by an Instructable from long ago, [crispernaki] ran straight to the thrift store to get a VCR and take it apart.
The original plan was to just reuse the VCR head’s PCB and hide it in an enclosure, and then figure out way to block and unblock the path between an IR emitter/receiver pair. After many disemboweled mice and fruitless attempt, the project was once again shelved.
But then, [crispernaki] remembered the magnetic rotary encoder demo board that was just sitting around, along with various microcontrollers and Altoids tins. And it all quickly came together with a Teensy 2.0 and some bits and bobs, including a magnet glued on the shaft of the VCR head. A chip on the demo board does all the heavy lifting, and of course, the Teensy does the work of emulating an HID.