Wednesday, April 21, 2010

wireless split kinesis contour

I finally have almost all the hard issues sorted out and I've assembled the left side of my heavily customized kinesis keyboard. Here's what's currently working:

Seamless wired to wireless operation:
Recharges when it's connected via USB, but can still be used while doing so. When disconnected, the wireless interface starts working immediately. When reconnected the wireless is disabled.

Support for 4 pointing devices:
The final keyboard will have 1 trackpoint + 1 touchpad per side. I've verified that I can support 3, and I'm 99% certain that 4 should work. I'm using synaptics touchpads and trackpoints directly connected to my microcontroller. This means I can implement distinct functionality for left and right sides- e.g. one side scrolls, the other side moves the cursor.

Runtime selectable keymaps:
I'm using a microcontroller with plenty of flash, so I have room to spare for extra keymaps (e.g. QWERTY,Dvorak,etc.). I've verified the ability to switch between them on the fly.

Remaining Tasks

At this point I need to:
solder the right half of the key matrix to the controller
build the plastic housings for each half
integrate touchpads and trackpoints into plastic housings
try to ruggedize everything as much as possible

The mechanical stuff has always proved to be the hardest for me. In the picture above the keyboard frame is still in one piece because I'm still measuring out how to integrate 2 touchpads and 2 trackpoints- there's barely enough room. A very similar issue is why I ended up postponing further work on the wireless alphagrip; it was just too hard to fit everything back inside. When I get back to working on the alphagrip, my plan is to make my own more compact keymatrix, perhaps consisting of individually soldered keyswitches to free up room vs. a full PCB.