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Monday, March 4, 2024

TypeBoy Is an Ergonomic Keyboard Powered by TypePak, a Sport Boy Cartridge with an nRF52

Customized pc keyboards are available all sizes and styles. At their core, they’re a matrix of switches linked in a matrix {that a} microcontroller scans. The TypeBoy is an ergonomic mechanical keyboard packing a novel microcontroller design. The challenge creator, Stu (AKA FlatFootFox), designed an nRF52 module referred to as the TypePak to suit right into a Sport Boy Advance cartridge that plugs into the keyboard!

“Your eyes do not deceive you: It is a keyboard that wants a Sport Boy Advance cartridge to perform.” — FlatFootFox

This challenge has a number of items: the keyboards and the microcontrollers. The cut up keyboard is named TypeBoy. Every has 29 keys wired in a matrix, that means the whole ergonomic keyboard has 58 keys. TypeBoy doesn’t have any intelligence. As a substitute, it has a socket that mates with a Sport Boy Advance-style cartridge. The socket’s routing makes it reversible, so a single PCB works for the keyboard’s left or proper half.

TypePak accommodates the microcontroller and appears like a Sport Boy Advance cartridge. Inside is a customized PCB with a Seeed Studio’s XIAO nRF52840 board. The Nordic Semiconductor nRF52840 helps Bluetooth Low-energy (BLE) and 5.0. A Sharp LS011B7DH03 Reminiscence-In-Pixel (MIP) LCD shows standing info like Bluetooth sign energy and battery life. The enclosure has sufficient area to accommodate an 80 mAh LiPo battery.

The XIAO’s kind issue has restricted GPIO pins. So FlatFootFox added a 74HC595 shift register for extra IOs. The result’s that TypePak’s 32-pin edge connector has all the XIAO’s pins damaged out and sufficient IOs to scan the keyboard matrix.

The TypePak runs an open supply firmware for keyboards referred to as ZMK. It’s a Zephyr-based RTOS with essential keyboard options. For instance, it has built-in assist for low-latency BLE, cut up boards, macros, and far more. You may see the intensive ZMK characteristic checklist right here.

Whereas the microcontroller runs the inventory ZMK firmware, shifting TypePak from one keyboard to a different just isn’t a straight plug-and-play swap. If the keyboard matrix differs, you could re-flash the firmware first. Regardless, TypePak is a compact answer for including logic to a customized keyboard design.

The boards and parts wanted to construct one are comparatively cheap. The KiCad design recordsdata, gerbers, and ZMK configurations are within the Typeboy and Typepak GitHub repository. FlatFootFox has offered intensive construct notes in this weblog publish.

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