Maker builds a pocket-sized chording keyboard


This Arduino-based chording keyboard can communicate over Bluetooth or USB.


Per Brian McEvoy’s Instructables article, “A chording keyboard is a device which relies on pressing multiple keys at once, similar to playing a chord on a guitar.” This type of computer interface can be quite fast as you don’t have to move your fingers off of the home position. In McEnvoy’s case, he designed his keyboard so that it would be extremely portable for a cyberpunk costume he’s assembling.

FL1BJPEIGL4CEV5.MEDIUM

His 3D-printed keyboard features three thumb buttons and a button for each finger, and uses an Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4) to translate key combinations into something that a computing device can recognize. According to his writeup, the seven keys and processor are required, but many of the other components, including the Bluetooth module, accelerometer, battery holder and USB port are optional. On the other hand, it appears one could need either a battery holder or USB port to get power from somewhere, so one of the two is probably necessary.

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It would seem like something similar to this running under Bluetooth would make an excellent phone accessory, perhaps as a custom case. The learning curve would be steep, but once learned, this type of accessory could make texting or phone-emails much, much faster.

You can find even more information about how this device came to be on his 24 Hour Engineer site!

2 thoughts on “Maker builds a pocket-sized chording keyboard

  1. John

    The Adafruit mega32u4 board with BLE has got a lot of us excited. But oh how I wish people would stop saying the learning curve is steep before they’ve tried it 🙂 although in this case it’s true. The problem isn’t learning the chords. That’s actually kind of fun. The problem is that this design calls for the fingers that type to grip the device at the same time, supporting against gravity. It’s very hard to grip and type with the same fingers. And it’s completely unnecessary; check out chordite.com.

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  2. John

    The Adafruit mega32u4 board with BLE has got a lot of us excited.

    I wish people would stop saying the learning curve is steep before they’ve tried it 🙂 but in this case it’s true. The problem isn’t learning the chords. That’s actually kind of fun. The problem is that this design calls for the fingers that type to grip the device at the same time, supporting against gravity. It’s very hard to grip and type with the same fingers. And it’s completely unnecessary; check out chordite.com

    Like

    Reply

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