The funny thing about keyboard end game is that it usually involves more than one keyboard. Rare is the board that is great for both home and away. Having finished their dactyl build, [RalphCoder13] was looking to build something slimmer and more portable, and the Birdy44 was born.
This hand-wired beauty uses a pair of Waveshare RP2040 Zeros and features a pair of 40mm Cirque track pads that were salvaged from a Steam controller.
As you may have guessed, there are 44 Kailh Chocs that sit underneath a combination of MBK and 3D-printed keycaps. Our favorite part might be the tenting legs, which are optional and connect magnetically.
Part of portability is how you decide to carry the thing. You probably don’t want it naked and loose in your backpack if you can avoid it, right? To that end, he designed a nice little case for the halves. The original plan was to use magnets to hold them in place inside the topless case, but that didn’t work out so well, so he added wide elastic bands to stretch around the case.
Is this still not portable enough for you? Check out this folding split keyboard.
Last time Hackaday went hands on with a product from German company MNT, it was the Reform laptop; a full size computer with a full feature set and fully open source design. Now they’re back with the same value proposition and feature set crammed into a much more adorable (and colorful!) package with the MNT Pocket Reform. If you want the big Reform’s open source philosophy in a body fit for a coat pocket, this might be the computing device for you.
To refresh your memory, MNT is a company that specializes in open source hardware and the software to support it. They are probably best known for the Reform, their first laptop. Its marquis feature is a fully open design, from the mechanical components (designed with OSS tools) to the PCBAs (designed with KiCad) to the software (designed with, uh, software). When originally shipped that product packed a DIMM-style System On Module (SOM) with a default configuration containing a quad core NXP i.MX8M Quad and 4GB of RAM, as well as mini PCIe Card and M key m.2 2280 slots on the motherboard for storage and connectivity. That computer was designed to be easily serviceable and included a plethora of full sized ports along with easy to source cylindrical battery cells. The Pocket Reform takes the same intent and channels it into a much smaller package.
Continue reading “A Miniature MNT For Every Pocket”
If you’re what one might call unlucky, there comes a point in your life when you need to switch to a keyboard that’s more ergonomic than your average rectangle. A little prevention goes a long way, though, and there’s no time like the present to go ergo. Why not? You have everything to gain, from long-lasting comfort to satisfying key presses.
The only problem is that most severely ergonomic keyboards just aren’t portable. At this point, we all know how much I love my Kinesis Advantage, and how I wouldn’t be able to write the Keebin’ column or even a grocery list without it. I have two now, and I take the ugly, yellowed, sticker-bombed one with me out into the world. But as much as I love it, I would really dig a a slimmed-down version that’s just as comfortable, perhaps more so. Well, move over, Kinesis, because you’ve got stiff competition in the form of a flexible little two-piece called the Glove80.
You may recall that there was a Kickstarter for this keyboard about a year ago. I was pumped about it then, and I still am. Here’s why:
Continue reading “Glove80 Keyboard Sure Fits Like One”
Once [Hide-key] saw the likes of the banana and corn macro pads, they knew they had to throw their hat in this strange and wonderful ring. Some family members suggested a sunflower, and off they went looking for inspiring images, finally settling on a more iconic and less realistic design which we think is quite beautiful.
This lovely little macro pad has seven keys hiding under those petals, with the eighth major petal concealing a XIAO RP2040 microcontroller. The rest of the major petals actuate a low-profile Kailh choc in — what else? — brown. Don’t worry, the middle isn’t a wasteland — there’s a low-profile rotary encoder underneath. Part of the reason this flower looks so great is that [Hide-key] started with SLA prints, but the paint choices are aces as well. If you’d like to grow your own sunflower, everything about this garden is open-source.
Oh yes, we totally covered the banana and the banana split, though we must have missed out on the corn. We hear that when you try it with butter, everything changes.
Via KBD #109
At the risk of stepping on our fantastic Keebin with Kristina series, a beautiful tutorial by [Ben Vallack] details how to create a custom low-profile keyboard in great detail.
We’ve covered complete guides to building your own and projects making custom rubber dome keyboards. In addition, several subreddits exist around custom keyboard builds and dozens of websites are dedicated to selling parts. So why add not add one more guide, especially on as well done as [Ben’s]?
[Ben] focuses on the high-level tooling and the methodology of laying out a keyboard and how it all comes together. It all starts with determining your specific hand shape and layout with Ergopad. With that shape taken care of, you can move onto Ergogen, which allows you to take the layout you have in mind and generate a KiCAD board layout that just needs to be routed. Flippable boards, various footprints for switches, and connecting up different microcontrollers are all supported.
Once you have your PCB in hand, [Ben] walks you through soldering the sockets on the back and setting up your board firmware in ZMK with Github Actions. It’s a slick guide with a nifty product at the end. Video after the break.
Continue reading “A Clear Guide For A Low-Profile Bespoke Keyboard”
So you want to minimize finger movement when you type, but don’t have three grand to drop on an old DataHand, or enough time to build the open-source lalboard? Check out these two concept keebs from [SouthPawEngineer], which only look like chord boards.
Every key on the home row is a five-way switch — like a D-pad with straight down input. [SouthPawEngineer] has them set up so that each one covers a QWERTY column. So like, for the left pinky switch, up is Q, right is A, down is Z, and left is 1. Technically, the split has 58 keys, and the uni has 56.
Both of these keebs use KB2040 boards, which are Adafruit’s answer to the keyboard-building craze of these roaring 2020s. These little boards are of course easy to program with CircuitPython, which supports KMK, an offshoot of the popular QMK. Thanks for the tip, [foamyguy]!
Continue reading “Keebin’ With Kristina: The One With The Ballpoint Typewriters”
No matter where you live in the world or what beverage you enjoy, it’s too easy to spill it on the keyboard. Obviously, the solution is to combine the two. That’s exactly what Google Japan did this past April Fool’s Day when they released the Gboard — a cylindrical keyboard wrapped around a removable cup. But is it still a joke once you’ve open-sourced it and made a build guide, more or less?
Here’s where it gets weird: each kanji on the keyboard represents a different kind of fish, and they’re laid out in Japanese phonetic order. You’re not stuck with the fish, though — one of the 60 keys switches between fish input and regular Hiragana (the basic Japanese phonetic alphabet). Underneath all those fish are low-profile Kailh chocs hooked up to an ATMega32u4. We only wish it were wireless.
We love that they open-sourced this keyboard, and it even makes sense in a way. In order to produce a good April Fool’s video, you actually have to make the fake product. The better it is (i.e. weird but plausible), the more people will like it and probably want one. So if you’re going to go to all that trouble, why not set it free on GitHub? Note that the second line of the readme is “this is not an officially-supported Google product”, which we suppose goes without saying.
Be sure to check out the short video after the break. If you don’t understand Japanese, you’ll want to turn on the closed captions.
You know, now that Raspberry Pi have made their answer to the Arduino, it’s about time that Apple made their answer to the Raspberry Pi.
Continue reading “Can’t Spill Coffee On Your Keyboard If It’s Already Inside”