Mini keyboards launched with ESP32-C3 or Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU

Tiny Keyboards Raspberry Pi RP2040 or ESP32-C3

Last week, when I saw LilyGO T-Keyboard based on ESP32-C3, I didn’t think much of it and did not expect many people to be interested, so I skipped it. But earlier today I also noticed Solder Party launched a very similar-looking product – the BB Q20 Keyboard with Trackpad – based on Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU. So after all, it might be worthwhile to look into those mini keyboards for makers. LilyGO T-keyboard Hardware specifications: SoC – ESP32-C3 single-core RISC-V processor with Wi-Fi 4 and Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity Display – 0.99-inch TFT color LCD QWERTY keyboard Battery – 400mAh built-it battery Power Supply – 5V via USB port Dimensions – 6.9 x 5.3 x 1.7 cm The company promotes it as a mini Bluetooth keyboard for iOS and Android smartphones, as well as Windows machines, but also has plans to make it work with their T-Echo LoRa messaging hardware.  […]

Raspberry Pi RP2040 gains an extra USB port through PIO’s (programmable I/Os)

Raspberry Pi RP2040 USB PIO

The Raspberry Pi RP2040 specifications only list one USB 1.1 Host/Device hardware interface, but developer’s Sekigon Gonnoc decided to leverage the microcontroller’s programmable I/Os (PIO) to add an extra USB port that also works in host or device mode. While the C library is still supposed to be a work in progress Sekigon implemented full-speed (12 Mbps) and slow-speed (1.5Mbps) host, full-speed device, USB hub, and multi-port support. There’s even a demo with three “Pico Pico USB” keyboards acting as USB hubs and HID plus a wireless mouse to show the results. The implementation uses one PIO for the USB transmitter using 22 instructions and one state machine and another PIO for the USB receiver using 31 instructions and two state machines, as well as one 1ms loop timer for the host, and one PIO interrupt for the receiver. You’ll find the code to implement the extra USB port on […]

RAKwireless introduces 16 new WisBlock modules with LoRaWAN, NFC reader, etc…

Wisblock LoRaWAN & NFC Reader wireless modules

RAKwireless will add new modules to its WisBlock IoT modular system every quarter. Last July, WisBlock family welcomed 14 new modules, and in September 2021, RAK11310 Raspberry Pi RP2040 LoRaWAN core was introduced together with a new baseboard and various sensor modules. This time around, the company launched 16 new Wisblock modules with two wireless modules, one adding LoRaWAN to an ESP32 core module, the other acting as an RFID and NFC card reader, as well as six sensor modules, and eight “interface” modules ranging from barcode scanners to keypads. WisBlock Wireless modules RAK13300 WisBlock LPWAN module based on Semtech SX1262 transceiver extends the communication abilities of the RAK11200 ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth LE module with LoRa / LoRaWAN. RAK13600 WisBlock NFC Reader enables reading and writing of NFC tags like RFID cards and other NFC enabled devices using NXP PN532 chip. WisBlock Sensor modules RAK12013 WisBlock Radar Sensor – […]

Pine64 launches PinePhone Keyboard case, back covers with LoRa radio, fingerprint scanner, wireless charging

PinePhone Keyboard Case

Pine64’s PinePhone Linux smartphone and its successor, the upcoming PinePhone Pro, are designed to be modular and extensible with a PinePhone Keyboard case prototype showcased here in April 2021 and aimed to transform the phone into what looks like a PDA. The design has now been refined, and Pine64 has just launched the PinePhone (Pro) keyboard case for $49.99, together with three back covers with either a LoRa module, a fingerprint scanner, or Qi wireless charging for $9.99 to $24.99 depending on the model. All are now available on Pine64 store. PinePhone (Pro) Keyboard Case Key features and specifications: ISO QWERTY layout with 54 keys in 5 rows. Note the key caps can be rearranged, so you could easily make an AZERTY or QWERTZ keyboard for example 180° hinge for two-hand typing on surface or thumb-typing when held Pogo pin connector to connect to PinePhone (Pro) smartphone USB – USB […]

Using Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard PC as a USB keyboard for your PC

Raspberry Pi 400 USB keyboard

Let’s try not to get confused, but you can now use Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard PC as a standard USB keyboard, optionally with a mouse attached to it, for your computer, or twisted minds may even connect it to a Raspberry Pi SBC… “But why?” you may ask. Because we can. That’s now possible thanks to work from Phil Howard (Gadgetoid), software lead of Pimoroni, and his Pi400kb project which implements a raw HID keyboard forwarder that turns the Raspberry Pi 400 into a standard USB keyboard. All you need to do is to find a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect the Raspberry Pi 400 to one of the USB ports on your computer, change some Raspberry Pi OS configuration, and install and run pi400kb. Add dtoverlay=dwc2 to /boot/config.txt in order to use the dwc2 USB device/gadget mode, and reboot your Pi 400 Load the libcomposite kernel module, get […]

25-key ESP32 Touch Matrix makes good use of ESP32’s touch sensor interface

ESP32 Touch Matrix

Besides the addition of Bluetooth, there are many differences between ESP8266 and ESP32 and one of the lesser-known interfaces may be ESP32’s touch sensor interface. India-based Electro Point’s ESP32 Touch Matrix makes good use of the touch sensor interface with 25 touch pads arranged in a 5×5 matrix creating a wireless keypad that could connect over WiFi or Bluetooth to a host. ESP32 Touch Matrix board specifications: Wireless module – ESP32-WROOM-32U with Espressif ESP32-D0WD dual-core Tensilica processor, 32Mbit SPI flash, 2.4 GHz WiFi, and Bluetooth LE connectivity 25 keys arranged in a 5×5 matrix Expansion – 4-pin I2C header for expansion, e.g. an OLED display Programming – Programming headers Misc – RGB status indicator, EN button Power Supply – 5V input via 2-pin header; built-in 3.3v regulator for ESP32 Dimensions – TBD When a capacitive load, such as a human hand) is in close proximity to the sense-pad, the sensor […]

Arduino powered 5-key keypad includes a rotary encoder

JC Pro Macro - Arduino Keyboard with Rotary Encoder

There was a time when people were happy to interact with their computer with a standard keyboard and mouse.  But in recent years, we’ve noticed more programmable, custom-designed keyboards with more ergonomy, a built-in touchscreen display, integrated into a multi-function USB dock/hub, as well as tiny keypads with a couple of mechanical keys to speed up specific functions. JC Pro Macro is another one of those compact USB keypads. Powered by an Arduino Pro Micro board, the keypad features five mechanical keyboard keys, and adds a rotary encoder, plus an optional I2C OLED display for debugging, and some I/Os to control external hardware like a fan. JC Pro Macro keyboard’s features and specifications: MCU board – Arduino Pro Micro compatible board with Microchip ATmega32U4 AVR microcontroller User input 5x programmable keyswitches Rotary encoder to control volume or other “rotary-y” elements, plus a 6th input switch, i.e. you can press it […]

Keyboardio Model 100 wooden keyboard runs open-source Arduino firmware (Crowdfunding)

Keyboardio Model 100

Are you bored with keyboard news yet? Keyboardio Model 100 does not quite look like most keyboards though. It’s basically a piece of art with an enclosure made of walnut or maple hardwood, and designed as an ergonomic keyboard with left and right parts with a total of 64 mechanical switches with RGB LEDs and custom-sculpted keycaps. Keyboardio Model 100 also runs Kaleidoscope open-source firmware programmed in the Arduino IDE, and can be customized by the user with Chrysalis open-source, cross-platform graphical configuration tool. The community is also working on porting QMK firmware to the keyboard. The Keyboardio Model 100 ships with QWERTY keycaps, but alternative keycap sets with Dvorak, Colemak, Linear A, or blank legends are available as a add-on. Other accessories include a 1.5 USB-A to USB C cable for connection to the host, a 10cm  RJ45 interconnect cable and a 1m RJ45 interconnect cable to connect the […]

EDATEC Raspberry Pi 5 fanless case