There are all sorts of reasons to build your own keyboard, and we would argue that the more custom the layout, the easier it is to justify the time and expense. At least, that’s what we’re going with for this post about [GoldenSights]’ big, beautiful custom ortholinear called Nearer, as in nearer to perfect. Just look at this battleship!
[GoldenSights] has long wanted a mechanical keeb, but has never been into any of the commercial offerings. That goes double since none of them seem to have a vertical Home/End cluster, which [GoldenSights] has become quite attached to thanks to a space-saving Logitech rectangle keeb. But if you’re going to make your own keyboard, you should go all out, right? Right. So [GoldenSights] started by adding another 12 F keys and making it ortholinear. Then things got personal with an extra Backspace where Num Lock usually lives, and dedicated keys for switching between English, Korean, and Chinese.
[GoldenSights] wanted USB-C and so they used an Elite-C microcontroller, but there’s one big problem — it only has 24 pins, and according to the matrix math, the board needs 27 total. Rather than using an I/O expansion chip or a second microcontroller, they wired it up as duplex matrix. This is an alternative way of wiring up a matrix so that it’s closer to being square by doubling up the rows and halving the number of columns.
We don’t think [GoldenSights] gives themselves enough credit here. They say that they lean toward calling it assembly rather than a build, but we disagree with that assessment. [GoldenSights] broke in this giant keeb with giant write-up of the build, so go see for yourself. There’s a ton of build pictures and a fair amount of hot glue, so be warned.
Let’s talk about those keycaps for a second. The space bar was supposed to be black PBT like the others, but the keycap manufacturer didn’t have a 6u space bar in black and sent a gray one instead. Honestly, we like the way it looks. And we love that [GoldenSights] painstakingly laid out the keys on foam board before committing to a laser-cut metal switch plate.
Want a space-saving ortholinear that doesn’t feel too cramped? Check out this wafer-thin keyboard that’s designed to squat over your inferior laptop keys.
Via KBD and r/mk
While the ATMega328 is “mega” for a microcontroller, it’s still a fairly limited platform. It has plenty of I/O and working memory for most tasks, but this Battleship game that [thorlancaster328] has put together really stretches the capabilities of this tiny chip. Normally a Battleship game wouldn’t be that complicated, but this one has audio, an LED display, and can also play a fine rendition of Nyan Cat to boot, which really puts the Atmel chip through its paces.
The audio is played through a 512-byte buffer and an interrupt triggers the microcontroller when to fill the buffer while it works on the other processes. The 12×12 LED display is also fed through a shift register triggered by the same interrupt as the audio, and since the build uses so many shift registers the microcontroller can actually output four separate displays (two players, each with a dispaly for shots and one for ships). It will also eventually support a player-vs-computer mode for the battleship game, and also has a mode where it plays Nyan cat just to demonstrate its own capabilities.
We’re pretty impressed with the amount of work this small microcontroller is doing, largely thanks to code optimization from its creator [thorlancaster328]. If there’s enough interest he also says he will provide the source code too. Until then, be sure to check out this other way of pushing a small microcontroller to its limits.
Thanks to [Thinkerer] for the tip!
Okay, let’s just get this out of the way up front, shall we? This ergonomic mechanical keyboard was a free sample offered to me by X-Bows. They contacted me after I expressed interest in trying one in the comments of my post about the Kinesis Advantage. I had my doubts about this keyboard as far as my own personal ergonomic needs go, which are admittedly on the extreme side. TL;DR: I won’t be abandoning my curvy girls anytime soon. But I will say that I’m definitely impressed by the X-Bows.
X-Bows was founded by a doctor who saw a lot of RSI issues in programmers and writers and decided to take matters into his own hands. The keyboard was born on Kickstarter in 2017 and now comes in three models. They sent me the mid-range model called The Knight, which retails for $249, but seems to be on permanent sale for $199. The top-of-the-line Knight Plus has a magnetic, detachable 10-key that can attach to either side. Continue reading “Inputs Of Interest: X-Bows Ergo-Mechanical Keyboard” →
Kids these days, they have it so easy. Back in the old days, we learned our elements the hard way, by listening to “The Elements” by Tom Lehrer over and over until the vinyl wore out on the LP. Now, thanks to [Karyn], kids can learn the elements by playing “Battleship” – no tongue-twisting lyrics required.
For anyone familiar with the classic “Battleship” game, you’ll wonder why no one thought of this before. [Karyn]’s version of the game is decidedly low-tech, but gets the job done. She printed out four copies of the periodic table, added letters to label the rows, and laminated them. A pair of tables goes into a manila file folder, the tops get clipped together, and dry-erase markers are used to mark out blocks of two to five elements to represent the ships of the Elemental Navy on the lower table. Guesses at the location of the enemy ships can be made by row and series labels for the elementally challenged, or better yet by element name. Hits and misses are marked with Xs and Os on the upper table, and play proceeds until that carrier hiding in the Actinide Archipelago is finally destroyed.
This is pure genius in its simplicity and practicality, but of course there’s room for improvement. The action-packed video after the break reveals some structural problems with the file folders, so that’s an obvious version 2.0 upgrade. And you can easily see how this could be used for other tabular material – Multiplication Table Battleship? Sounds good to us. And if your nippers catch the chemistry bug from this, be sure to take a deeper dive into the structure of the periodic table with them.
Now, if you’ll excuse me: “There’s antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium, and hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium….”
Continue reading ““You Sank My Dysprosium!”: Periodic Table Battleship” →
Today’s episode of BoingBoing TV comes straight from Maker Faire. The first segement is about RoboGames arena combat. The second segment covers a favorite exhibit of mine. Western Warship Combat Club brought their 1/144th scale battleships to fight it out in a large pool. The RC boats fire ammunition up to 1/4-inch ball bearings and the even feature bilge pumps to keep them afloat. Scoring is based on where on the hull the strike happens. Here’s a direct link to the mp4.