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It feels like it's been ages since I've updated my personal blog. That's likely because it's been ages since I updated my personal blog. I've been nose-down for most of the past two years working on the Model 01, our new keyboard. The Model 01 is now on Kickstarter. Please back us today. Kaia and I are doing something kind of crazy -- a coast to coast roadshow to support the campaign. You can find our plans on the Kickstarter page. If you're somewhere along our route, we'd love to say hi. Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2015 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
One of the things we're building for the Keyboardio Model 01 is an interactive keyboard shell that I've provisionally named "quiche". Today, I implemented functionality to allow the user to reboot the ATmega32U4 inside the keyboard into the Caterina bootloader so the user can upload new firmware. It took a lot more time than it should have to find the right magic incantations to get the bootloader to stay in firmware upload mode. (In the end, it was just a matter of looking at CDC.c inside the Arduino core.) So that nobody else has to stumble through this as I... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2014 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
The Model 00 is very similar to the Mark 13 I mentioned over at, though it (finally) uses a PCB I designed and had Seeed Studio make me 10 copies of (for $200, including FedEx Next Day shipping from China!) and has a shell made from stained, polyurothane-coated birch plywood rather than acrylic sheets. It's pretty close to a "final" layout for the keyboard we're hoping to Kickstarter. So far, we've built out four of our 10 PCBs. Two of them are for us. The other two are being sent to unsuspecting beta testers tomorrow. (They won't get there... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
Yes! The keyboard itself speaks Dvorak, Colemak, Workman and a variant of Maltron in addition to QWERTY. Were still figuring out what well be able to do for key caps.
Assuming we end up with the layered acrylic construction, youll be able to just pop out our screws and use your own longer screws. That ought to be safer than redrilling and sinking your own screws.
Two PCBs, PCB interconnects, two separate housings, the mechanical design of keeping the two pieces connected when they should be connected...and yeah. At some point, I need to talk to the Workman and Colemak communities about the ideal mappings. For now, I'm running with: and
Heya Ted, (Did you leave me voicemail earlier in the day?) Your project immediately reminded me of Eric Raymonds blog post from June 27, 2013: Keyboards are Not a Detail Looks like youre solving a lot of ESRs complaints except one; it would be nice to use the buckling spring switch. But the patents have expired, so that is an option for the future once sales take off. In fact, for a small fee, Unicomp would be more than willing to manufacture this for you. Unicomp is very reasonable to work with. Talk to Jim. Looks like youve already done the hard parts that would be expensive to have Unicomp do; since those are done, the remaining work would be very cheap since youve done the heavy lifting. Ive actually go a line into Unicomp on a related matter. Ill certainly raise the possibility with them. Well also need to make sure its loud as most Buckling Spring boards ;) Jesse, will your keyboard have N-key rollover? Or, it being USB and all, at least 5-key rollover/chording? Out of the box, itll be 6KRO (6+modifiers), however if you feel like hacking around with the driver, you should be able to make NKRO happen (on ~everything except OS X) Any chance of having a split version, so I can place the two halves on my chair/desk and screw them down to the wood, but then screw it back to the one-piece base for use on the road? I miss my Kinesis; at this point I think your design beats the ErgoMagic by fair, except for lack of a splitting feature. And even the ErgoMagic doesnt have the screw-holes so I can screw it down to my custom wood-work/metal-work. Id like a keyboard that can blend seamlessly with my cyberpunk office furniture. Id really like to, but it probably wont be the first keyboard we make. Too much technical risk means that we might not ship a great keyboard. Care to do a trade? You make me a keyboard, I make you a captains chair with electro-luminescent lighting AKA Tron style? Thanks for the offer - Im not quite in a place where a new chair makes sense, but Ill definitely keep it in mind. Thanks! -Jesse
@Johnwest72 Wed have to be crazy to not be trying to ship it with a proper pointing device. Were working on it, but dont have anything to announce just yet. For now, Im pretty happy with the mouse emulator I hacked up. (The ASDF keys move the cursor. The WER keys are your three mouse buttons)
It's been a while since I've written about my keyboard-building adventures....apparently, I haven't blogged about keyboards since April of this year. I've been too busy designing keyboards. The first thing I should get out of the way is that you're going to be able to buy one. We're working hard to finalize a design and find manufacturing partners. If you want to know when we're ready to take your money, head on over to and sign up for our announcement list. When I last wrote about keyboards here, I'd just completed my first fully homebrew design - the Mark... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
This was my third trip to Shanghai. The first one was in 1993. The second was in 2010. Things had ch... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
I've built my first little piece of software for Google Glass. I flew home from SF yesterday and realized that there was no way (short of installing a very crashy Settings.apk) to enable Airplane Mode on my Glass. That seemed like a reasonable enough "small" starter project. This is really, really only for folks who are already comfortable running third party apps on their Glass. If you don't know how to sideload apps with adb, please don't install this. You can grab the initial build at: Source lives at Patches welcome! Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
I got a MOD Live HUD from Recon Instruments today. It is, indeed, running Gingerbread. As it turns out, if you can get it to install an, it won't check the signatures. Which means it's pretty easy to root :) Cracking it open, the display is a Kopin, though I don't yet know which model. It's designed as a look-around display. The prism has a mirrored backing and is wrapped in black plastic. The mirror coating on the prism comes off quite easily with a bit of rubbing alcohol. So yeah, rootable Android (2.3) wearable computer. $300. More details... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
[crossposted from Google+] [tl;dr $300 Android wearable computer with a HUD. Has been shipping for quite some time] Growing up and hanging out near Cambridge, MA, I was always fascinated by the "mediaborgs" - the folks around the Media Lab who were building and using wearable computers. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I could get myself a rig. At the time, the $1000+ for a heads-up display was more than I could pull off. I played around with sticking the tiniest laptop I could find (and even a bit of PC104 kit) in a... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
It's been quite a while since I've written about my keyboard hacking project. Since I wrote up the Mark 1 keyboard, I've made 5 more keyboards. I've learned a bunch about soldering, I've learned how to operate a laser cutter and I've learned a bit about 3D printing. I've also learned a bit about ergonomics and keyboard design. I'm going to take this chronologically, even though that means I'm going to tell you about stuff that I later discovered was...not so right. So, bear with me through some clunky keyboard prototypes. It gets better. This post documents work from January,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
Pinky typing and middle-row reaching are the bane of my typing. My ideal keyboard would rely on partial chording to drastically reduce the number of keys (something like Thats vaguely reminiscent of Engelbarts chrording keyboard from the 1968 demo and the Bat by Infogrip
Interesting story of the shift key. Do you have a reference to it and the touch typing paper? Unfortunately, its buried in a list of 300 papers Ive been working through :/ Pinky typing and middle-row reaching are the bane of my typing. My ideal keyboard would rely on partial chording to drastically reduce the number of keys (something like
The return-space-escape-backspace configuration is very elegant. Generally the whole layout looks quite natural. Thanks! A ton of comments I could make come down to OS background and personal taste. While I love having arrows available to both hands Id personally want IJKL arrow keys, for example, which better match what Im used to. Whatever I make will be fully reprogrammable, so that wont be an issue. But more subtly Id be concerned about chording to access the arrow keys because I tend to do a lot of multi-chorded arrow strokes already (control-shift-right-right-right) and adding another modifier strikes me as a lot of buttons to juggle at once. Yep. With the current design, that works becuase its easy to put one finger on blueshift+shift. One could also create a set of keys that are control-shift arrows Im working on refining the layout of the thumb keys, too. Why not move Tab down to the G? Wouldnt that be an easier location to reach? In the latest redesign, I actually moved tab and return to thumb keys. Do you find that you still use shift on the opposite hand as what youre shifting, as you need to for a more typical keyboard? I do, mostly at least.
Your pinkies are not exactly your most...adept fingers. I don't mean to imply that I'd be happy to lose mine, but I'm also not exactly happy that the standard QWERTY keyboard sticks keys like Shift, Return, Delete, Tab and Escape out of the way where you need to stretch your pinkies to whack them. If you're an emacs user and have remapped Caps Lock to Control, things don't exactly get easier for your poor left pinkie. As I've been starting to research keyboard design, I came across a tidbit about the placement of the Shift keys -- The earliest Remington... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
I'm starting to play around with what my first fully-homebrew keyboard design might look like. This is my first pass at the left half of a keyboard: Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2013 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
@Dan - Yeah, I dont know what to recommend to you. Personally, Im a big fan of the brown stemmed cherry switches. Best, Jesse
What city are you near, Dan? There may be a retailer or something you could try. I dont feel like clicking a single switch is a great way to get a sense of what typing on something feels like. What keyboards have you enjoyed typing on?
An explanation of what I'm trying to do by writing this up When I started in on this project, I was a complete electronics newbie. I had no memory of holding a soldering iron. (Though as soon as that rosin core got hot, I recognized the smell. I'm pretty sure I must have soldered as a kid or in a past life or something.) I made...a number of mistakes as I built my first keyboard, but in the end I have a fully working keyboard. I'm attempting to recount, from memory, everything I did. Especially everything I did wrong. If... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2012 at Massively Parallel Procrastination
In early 2012, I ran across a fascinating project on the keyboard forums at The ErgoDox is a project by some gifted hobbyists to build a split ergonomic keyboard inspired by the Key64 Project. The Key64, in turn, counts the µTron, TypeMatrix, Maltron and Kinesis keyboards among its influences. The right place to read up on the ErgoDox is probably this thread on, since is still fairly spartan. As soon as I saw it, I signed up to buy an ErgoDox kit when the folks designing it were ready to start the group-buy process. Being somewhat mechanically... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2012 at Massively Parallel Procrastination