gofree - (wireless spilt keyboard with trackball 3D sketch)
By - serapath
I really doubt this can work. Keyboards need a fixed suport as a table. In my view this will roll and it will be hard to hit the upper keys and probably you would have to pull your fingers to a non-confortable position to click the keys nearer to your hand. Seems cool in a drawing. I doubt this could be really materialized.
water is heavy.
but handheld running bottle holders exist.
they are mwant to keep a bottle comfortably in plqce when you run.
...so the device will probably be lighter than half a liter of water in a bottle and i dont plan to type while running ... so chances are this will work.
i tried it with a heavy not very sturdy clay model and it worked quite well, so i dont worry about that
Good luck. Show us when there's a prototype ready :)
yes, will do.
things move slowly.
especially the part with pins for amoeba pcba and having flexcable pcb to connect everything without soldering - havent seen that yet.
...but i plan to print the case and iterate on the shape.
looks like cool concept but i can’t see that design being practical to type on irl.
i tried the quite heavy clay model and i could reach all keys.
because it fits 50 keys per split half, you could even use it smartly to allow the entire keyboard range to be used with only a single hand and if you have the trackball too, that gives you one free hand to drink a coffee :-)
Why all the keys? You could easily mirror the right side for example by holding down or toggling a layer shift. The thumbs seem underutilized as well, especially considering how many keys you’re going for. If you put some layer shifts in the thumb area, you could lose 2/3 of your keys and keep the range of motion for your fingers more comfortable.
yes. i plan to enable using everything with one hand only, so the second half is optional. you use both hands to speed up typing, but ine hand is enough.
i agree, the thumb cluster is underutilized.
i was thinking of adding a scroll wheel maybe and probably some keys too.
first goal is to add max amount of possible keys.
later iteration might use something more minimal. removing is easy
>max amount of possible keys
I like the idea overall, and I'm definitely with you as far as convenient input for VR as well as accessibility. But "max amount of keys" reminds me of when I started making keyboards, only to learn that having that many keys was not only not necessary at all, but ergonomically punishing. I started with an Ergodox EZ and wishing I had more keys, went to making my own keebs with more keys, and now am down to 48 keys total and having a few that I could get rid of if I wanted. Definitely not interested in the crazy low numbers I see people getting to though; at some point you start losing out on functionality and have to build in compromises.
I saw what you had said about trying to get all keys under one hand, and I had replied that a simple layer shift or toggle could do this easily. Quite a few people in r/olkb have done just this, for one-handed gaming and typing as an example. And with the added benefit that they don't have to be reaching for keys at all, which would be made more difficult with the unit strapped to your hand. Q just becomes Y for example, and you have the right hand layer under your left hand instantly without reaching.
Just me, but I'd focus on using layer shifts and other qmk features to make the typing experience more comfortable right off the bat. It also turns out to be easier (for me anyways) to remember keys organized by layer as opposed to sitting in a sea of other keys.
Just my $0.02 that you didn't ask for haha! There's definitely no right and wrong way here, and you're firmly in "outside the box" territory here. I like it. Interested to see what you come up with.
thx. will definitely experiment.
what i noticed with me is that i am annoyed every time i have to press shift to make an upper case letter, so i type all lower case.
but lets see.
at the moment i am working on the second iteration to see what kind of mechanism could best hold the devi e in place
second half of this video is where i tried to make sure i can reach all keys
i don’t have an IG ☹️ so i can’t watch the video. do you have a youtube link instead?
btw what is the goal of your keyboard design? what is it that your trying to accomplish with this?
no surface on the go typing possibly in VR with a wireless headset.
also making the second half optional thus being able to type everything with one hand only.
already on normal keyboard i type everything lower case and prefer pressing a single key over key combos, so i wanna start with max amount of keys reachable when strapped to a hand
...its always easy to later make derivations with less keys if somebody wants that
for example from salomon or osprey
hope you build one for yourself. would love to see this in action
thats the plan
My contribution is to suggest that you have a look at videos of people typing and analyse closely to see if there is any stationary point on the hand or wrist. Better yet, if this is completely custom to you, record yourself typing and observe your own form!
I suspect that this stationary point would be closer to the wrist or even along the forearms than on the palm, so I think ideally you'd have it strapping along that point instead.
In my head, what this may look like is having the keyboard so that it is constrained in line with the direction of the forearm (imagine drawing a line from the elbow to the wrist and extending this further and placing the keyboard somewhere along this line). Fixing the keyboard on this line would mimic what I imagine normal typing is like, where a keyboard is stationary relative to your forearm and your wrist is free to move. Without getting too much into the details (which is the fun part with any design process like this) this could be a base sitting on a "plank" which is strapped to the forearm. This would need to be strapped in two placed along the forearm so that the whole thing doesn't tend to pivot around one strap and sag.
Happy to answer any Qs or send some diagrams if any of this is of interest. Great project, and enjoy the process!
i thiught about it and tried, but you cant move you arm relative to the keyboard, so fixing the wrist means for the time you work it will be imobelized
fixing it to tge palm makes your wrist free to move and relax.
i think its unhealrht to force arms into desk sitting typing position for hours every day.
I don't thing this will be considered ergonomic, specially if you have to stretch your fingers like that to reach the the top keys. Keyboard tend to work with curled fingers for a reason.
you dont have to stretch if you get the curve right.... just conpare to piano or even better guitar ... its healthy finger gymnastics and stretching. you practice full range of motion :-)
The idea of strapping it to the hand sounds interesting at first, but research has shown that it is unpractical in real life. Our hands are our interface with the world, restricting them to only task is just not what will happen in real life.
This is typically why human computer interfaces aren't connected to our hands directly (smartphones, VR controller, for instance).
One of the example I'm the most familiar with is the development of communication device for Deafblind people. In a nutshell, no one would consider having a device fixed to the hand.
If you want to do that though, you'll have to much more pay attention to some biological facts: keep the rest position of the hand to keep the muscles at the neutral position (avoid injuries), heat regulation, sweat evacuation where the skin is in permanent contact with the skin (especially for the glabrous skin that produces more sweat than the hairy one).
Good luck! I hope you'll continue to post your design until you get to something robust enough to be used for a long period of time!
thx. i dont believe it would be bad to hand mount. i'd use it.
...but i agree, i will need to think about the material the hand rests on.... on thw other hand, people use game controllers for hours
Yes I agree, however the significant difference is that the hands aren't constrained. :-)
We do a lot of "micro-scretching" to reset the muscles when we use interfaces that we don't even realise.
You'll find that by yourself I suppose, you look determined, which is a good thing! One option you might consider at some point is to hang your interface to your belt, so it is easily accessible but doesn't constraint your hands. :-)
was thinking about it, but i work 8 hours a day aprox. on average.... but
hanging them on ny belt meana my arm are fixed downwards next to my body for most of the time, so i want my arms wrists elbows shoulders ... to yoga and move i all ways possible during the day, so that might be the benefit of the hand strapped keyboard halfs
Oh! And I have another thought to share with you.
Imagine you design your apparatus like on your post.
To use it, you put your left hand on top of the left part, and tighten the part with the scratch using your right hand.
Now you want to wear the right part of the device. You place your right hand on top of it and…how do you tighten the second scratch knowing that your left hand is on the left part of the device already?
Same to take it off :-)
thats exactly what i am trying to figure out... definitely hard.
it needs a one handed opening and closing mechanism that you can operate either with you pinky or with your thumb and index finger, because if you turn your hands back towards es h other, then these are the fingers with whicb you might be able to reach the opening and closing mechanisms ....
You can have a motorised mechanism where when each bottom of the 2parts of the device is touching each other, the scratch is hanging, and when you separate them the scratch locks your hands
yeah, i want a manual version.
motor sounds brittle, expensive and battery eating.
whether clothes, shoes, backpacks, purses, or other accesoires.... there should be some solid one handed opening/closing mechanism
i plan to use the smallest switches available and guess those are the
I like it! I'm glad you're going down this path, too. I was thinking about typing while walking, but I hated chorded keyboards being so slow. So I had a go at cramming as many keys onto one hand, like you're doing, but I only got a max of 36 finger-reachable keys into it with gateron switches. Not pictured are the various hand-attachments I made.
My latest stuff all uses Kailh gChoc Blue switches, which are a lot more compact and easy to fit, but I've given up on the whole more keys=better ideology. Still making one-handed walkable keyboards, just they're vertically chest-mounted instead of hand-mounted (pretty comfy!).
Good luck with the rest of this! I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.
wow, do you have pics how you use them and maybe a git repo?
I get the concept, but it looks like a meme dactyl without any thumb keys
i'll try to add them :-)
Interesting! Do you plan to use this on a desk or just free-hanging off your hand? To me it looks like the top row keys would be a bit tough to reach, especially the very top row in the drawing which is angled away. What is the reasoning for that top row being arranged like that?
if all keys can be reached with fingers bent, then the top row can maybe be reached with stretched out fingers, kinda like mouse buttons ... maybe the top row turns out to be not practical, not sure yet.
i definitely want to use the keyboard while walking... in VR or without.
I want to use it in any yoga position, with arms behind my back or not ....
i want to stop having my hands forced in front of my body usually with a 90 degree elbow angle. this sucks 😁
Got it, yeah I'll be really interested to see how it turns out!
What about if you need to scratch your nuts?
i know, thats tough, but maybe you go to one handed input mode 😜 .... thats why i added ao many keys.
also, alternatively you mount a nut scratching device on the bqck of the keyboard or ...use a remote controlled one and control it with the track balls...
imagine, if it has some sort of position tracki g it can be used as a VR controlled too and using the vrowser in oculus quest, all of a sudden lots of text input becomes fun
i plan to use kailh hotswap sockets on maybe preassembled amoeba single switch pcbs which just plug/snap into the 3D printed case.
ideally they feature some pins so a flexcable pcb can be designed and ordered which just plugs into all the amoeba pins without the need to solder anything.
then it just needs bluetooth and usb-c for charging and some sort of software for a microcontroller to support the trackball sensor too
The amoeba PCBs do not support Kailh sockets, fyi.
oh sweet thata good to know. i wasnt aware
are there alternatives for kailh hotswap sockets and low profile switches?
what are the smalles switches (non standard is fine) that exist?
here is some inspiration from an earlier post
here is the link to the first posting i ever made online when i started the idea
actually, i started my research in winter 2016.
the clay model was made in winter 2017.
a github repo in winter 2018.
i did lots of planning an researcgh in 2019, also how to mount a screen to your body while on the go.
the forum post above is from beginning of 2020.
...i was quite busy with work since then, but because of my recent car accident i took some time to push this project further 🙂
### Speaking as an engineer, this is bad design. Cool idea, but bad design.
I had a handheld trackball years ago that you wear like a ring on your index finger. It was awful. Having it attached to my hand meant I hand to set it down **constantly** and this will have the same problem. Wanna jot down a note? Unstrap your keyboard. Answer your phone? Unstrap your keyboard. Blow your nose?... You guessed it, unstrap your keyboard.
On top of that, operating a mechanical device while attached to your hand is tiresome. You need to work your muscles in unusual ways, and the strap will push against your flexing muscles and it doesn't feel good.
we will see.
maybe its a bit of a fingee gym, but people also learn how to play guitar.
also - one goal of this project is that you can use all keys with one half of the keyboard, so you actually have one free hand, so scratch you nose as much as you want :-)
if you use both hands at the same time its true, its definitely more like a focused heavy use mode. ... lets see how it works.
maybe just rub your nose with the back of your hand instead? 😅
Here are some thoughts about wiring everything up without the need to solder anything.
My eyes.. Please delete
man, get a life.
if you dont like it, just move along.
no need to be rude and put down the project.
for accessibility this is great.
people who have only one hand can possibly use this and you could use it on the go or in wireless VR where you dont have a surfqce for a real keyboard.
maybe just be nice or silent instead?!?
I would be VERY dissappointed if he invested a shit ton of money for this project based on lies told about the design of this thing..I am actually trying to help him face the truth
nah, you are just being old fashioned, but to me it seems this is the future, especially for VR and accessibility.
i dont see why this wouldnt work.
there is nothing that prevents this from working if designed well and sturdy enough.
It looks stupid. Hope it'll work.
if you would want it to be strapped to your hands so you can use it on the go and in wireless VR , how would you shape it instead?
...and of course, colors will be different and this is just a sketch, so rough edges will hopefully disappear.
I didn't say it's not functional, i said it looks stupid. And everyone knows if it works it's not stupid. That's why I said I hope it'll work.
Thanks for inquire my ideas, but I am a black hole in an idea-universe.
But I see you want physical buttons, which is a hard task... your way seems logical, but again it LOOKS stupid. I would also put a scroll somewhere...
Edit: just to add quickly. If you want to use it on the go, a second strap from the bottom to the wrist will help alot. Might make it at least partially elastic.
thx for the scroll wheel idea, i think you are right.
i will also maybe consider a second strap, but i hope the handheld running bottle holders who manage to comfortably and stabely keep half a liter of water in place will do the job, so i will try that first, but if not, i will try what you recommended 🙂
While a bottle holding is not an issue during movement, your hand position should be fairly static. I mean you should have a sensation of a stable point like you usually have during typing, and your keeb is stationary. If it moves just a little (by rotating your wrist, or movement creating force), your finger rest place is gone. Your button travel grows/shrinks. By 1 strap it won't be enough static i got that feeling. But might work.
wrist movement does not affect position. i tried it with the clay model. it stays fixed relative to your hand and fingers position no matter how you move 🙂
That's cool! Keep us informed if you got a working prototype :) i am interested!