A 3D-printed five-key chorded keyboard

Unusual entrances and unusual peripherals: an accorded set of keys recreates Engelbart’s vision – Hackaday

Douglas Engelbart’s “Mother of All Demonstrations” from 1968 introduced the world to a whole range of technologies that we take for granted today, the most prominent being his great invention, the computer mouse. However, MOAD also featured things like text editing and pasting, point-and-click interface, video conferencing, and even online collaboration according to Google Docs. One of the innovations that showed that for some reason it didn’t stand the test of time was the chord keyboard: an input device with five keys that can be pressed simultaneously in different combinations, in the same way you would play chords on a piano.

3D printed keyboard with five chord keys
The Engelbart Keyset comes with a USB host and USB client ports

Although several attempts have been made over the years to bring new life to the “chord,” it has failed to achieve popularity and remains interesting to this day. This makes it naturally suitable for Odd entrances and unusual peripheries competition, as we can see in [Russ Nelson]’s submission called Engelbart Keyset, which aims to create a modern 3D printed chord that works exactly as Engelbart envisioned.

It’s important to note that the chord keyboard wasn’t supposed to be just an extra set of five keys. Instead, Engelbart showed a clever interaction between the chord and the mouse: five buttons below his left hand and three mouse buttons below his right could be combined to create a full 8-bit input device. [Russ]The device therefore includes a USB host interface for connecting a USB mouse as well as a USB client interface that presents itself as a mouse / keyboard combination to a computer.

The brain of the device forms Teensy 4.1, which reads the codes sent by the mouse, as well as the five buttons at the top. If one or more of these keys are pressed together with a mouse key, then a keyboard code corresponding to Engelbart’s original key code mapping is generated. We wonder how practical this whole setting would be in real life; it looks like something you’d have to try out of hand to find out. Fortunately, all schemas, code, and STL files are available on the project page, so with just a little work you can have your own MOAD setting on your desk today.

On these pages we have shown several keyboards with chords; the Pico chordthe Chordie and BAT comes to mind. If you’re looking for a summary of Engelbart’s captivating presentation, check out our article at Mother of all Demos, 50 years later.

#Unusual #entrances #unusual #peripherals #accorded #set #keys #recreates #Engelbarts #vision #Hackaday

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.