Pump Up The (Windows) Volume With Physical Sliders

For as long as we can remember, Windows has provided a mixer that breaks out the volume level of every applicable application into its own slider-controlled lane. But navigating to these controls is non-trivial, especially if you’re in a hurry to silence someone on team speak. You have to stop what you’re doing, click the speaker, go into the mixer, and then go find the appropriate slider. Windows won’t respect resizes between mixer visits, so you’ll almost always have some horizontal scrolling to do.

So why on Earth would you put yourself through all of this when you could be pushing physical sliders on the fly like a DJ? A slider is just a potentiometer in a straight line, after all.

These are wired up to an Arduino Nano, which sends the serial data to a Python script on the PC that changes the volume values accordingly for whatever five programs are in the config file. Thanks to a little bit of Visual Basic, the Python script can run in the background.

[Aithorn]’s got everything you need to replicate this, so slide on over and grab the STL files and code. If you get to point where these sliders are too small, just build some bigger ones.

Wherein The Mechanical Keyboard Community Discovers Motorized Linear Potentiometers

Deep in the bowels of the Digikey and Mouser databases, you’ll find the coolest component ever. Motorized linear potentiometers are a rare, exotic, and just plain neat input device most commonly found on gigantic audio mixing boards and other equipment that costs as much as a car. They’re slider potentiometers with a trick up their sleeve: there’s a motor inside that can set the slider to any position.

The mechanical keyboard community has been pushing the boundaries¬†of input devices for the last few years, and it looks like they just discovered motorized linear pots. [Jack] created a motorized sliding keycap for his keyboard. It’s like a scroll wheel, but for a keyboard. It’s beautiful, functional, and awesome.

The hardware for this build is just about what you would expect. A 60 mm motorized linear pot for the side-mount,¬†or 100 mm mounted to the top of the keyboard, is controlled by an Arduino clone and a small motor driver. That’s just the hardware; the real trick here is the software. So far, [Jack] has implemented a plugin system, configuration software, and force feedback. Now, messing with the timeline in any Adobe product is easy and intuitive. This device also has a ‘not quite vibration’ mode for whenever [Jack] gets a notification on his desktop.

Right now, [Jack] is running a group buy for this in a reddit thread, with the cost somewhere between $55 and $75, depending on how many people want one. This is a really awesome product, and we can’t wait for Corsair to come out with a version sporting innumerable RGB LEDs. Until then, we’ll just have to drool over the video [Jack] posted below.

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