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Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Prototype keyboard.

February 14th, 2006 No comments

Well, I’ve built the first prototype of the board, and coded up rev 1.0 of the keyboard software.

Rev 1.0 supports the usual keybounce routines, and braille decoder. It’ll take a bit of tweaking to find the optimum balance of keybounce vs proper operation. I’m thinking of supporting dynamic keystroke detection so that as someone gets better at typing, it’ll shorten the delay between the keybounce routine and a valid keystroke. This means as you get faster typing, it won’t slow you down.
I’ve set the theoretical maximum limit to double the speed of the current world record, (150wpm or 12 cps). Now that shouldn’t be an issue!

Full steam ahead!

February 10th, 2006 No comments

Well, I just received my Atmel ATmega8 chips, programmer and dev board. Plugged it all in, and flashed my first program. Of course the penultimate LED flasher. It’s so easy these days. No mucking around with OTP, or EPROM. Sheesh.
Because I’m using Debian – I, of course, am using avr-gcc. A simple apt-get fixes that up. The programmer came from sparkfun.com, and is based on the simple serial bitbash programmers. I use Ponyprog to do the actual programming.

The Atmel AVR vs the Microchip PIC.

February 3rd, 2006 No comments

First up: This has been discussed to death on forums and mail groups for a long time. The winner is that there isn’t one. The basic truth is that either will do for you a good job. However, I found subtle differences between the two that made me end up going with Atmel. Here’s why:
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Hacking up the MICK hardware

February 3rd, 2006 No comments

While I was waiting for the PIC bits to arrive I started fooling around with the physical look of the MICK braille keyboard.
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Mick’s Integrated Chordic Keyboard – second design

February 2nd, 2006 No comments

Mick’s Integrated Chordic Keyboard

First up. Why?
Well, the answer is that I’m getting tired of using the standard qwerty keyboard. Even though I can type fairly fast, I am not a touch typist, and only use 6 fingers anyway. With those 6 fingers I can get to 100wpm, but I have to look at the keyboard for finger placement.

What would be nice is to have a keyboard that I could take with me anywhere. Something I can put in my pocket, can connect to my Nokia phone via Bluetooth, or my iPAQ via bluetooth, IR or serial. Then there's my 12 odd PCs at home, and not to mention work. Something with a small screen would be nice so as to easily learn the new finger placement. Something that can last at least a week on batteries. Mmmm.
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Ditching the PICs.

February 1st, 2006 No comments

I finally got my PIC chips, programmer, and dev board. Started to hack around with the PICs. It dawned on me very quickly, that the re-learning curve will be steep. Also, that the PICs turned out, (for me), to be the wrong choice. See here for a reason why I ditched them.
So, after a bit more digging, I went with the Atmels. These are pretty decent chips, and I certainly feel more at home with them.

Mucking around with plaster.

January 25th, 2006 No comments

I’ve ordered all the bits for the project. I ended up basing it on the 16F88 PIC chip. Nice little unit that can be programmed in-circuit via a bootloader.
In the mean time I started to muck around with hardware models of the finished product. I shelved all the models until I have a better understanding of how the prototype will go.
Three different designs:
A form fitting separate handed model.

Dual handed model.

Simpler design – the one I’ll eventually stick with.

Mick’s Integrated Chordic Keyboard – initial design

January 22nd, 2006 No comments

First up. Why?
Well, the answer is that I'm getting tired of using the standard qwerty keyboard. Even though I can type fairly fast, I am not a touch typist, and only use 6 fingers anyway. With those 6 fingers I can get to 100wpm, but I have to look at the keyboard for finger placement.
What would be nice is to have a keyboard that I could take with me anywhere. Something I can put in my pocket, can connect to my Nokia phone via Bluetooth, or my iPAQ via the same. Then there's my 12 odd PCs at home, and not to mention work. Something with a small screen would be nice so as to easily learn the new finger placement. Something that can last at least a week on batteries. Mmmm.
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8dot braille codes

January 22nd, 2006 No comments

The complete PC keyboard mapped onto 8 fingers!
Taken from here.
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