Flutterby™! : Keyboards

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2006-02-18 16:01:20.652737+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

In a conversation on the Chugalug mailing list I mentioned that a longstanding dream was to convert an old mechanical typewriter, like the one I learned to type on, to work as input for my computer. Chad Smith followed up with some links:

[ related topics: History Cool Technology ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-18 16:15:49.725211+00 by: Dan Lyke

As the thread continued, I realized that:

The PS/2 protocol is simple enough that I think it'd be quicker and easier to build a keyboard encoder with an Atmel chip than to try to do a mechanical transfer thing, if there were a simple repeatable way to buid switches for everything. It's been a long time since I've typed on one of those (but I learned to type on one), but I've always imagined microswitches where the bar that drives the hammer connects to the hammer.

However, given the wacky economics of things nowadays, it might be cheaper and quicker to grab the optical sensor out of a mouse[1] and put that assembly inside the platen, disable the feed mechanisms and read the face of the hammer when it strikes.

Although disabling the feed mechanism wouldn't come easily, part of an enter key done right would be the end-of-line "ding" and ensuing ratchet sound as you hit the platen return bar.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-23 05:47:13.39714+00 by: baylink

If it was a Mac, I'd be able to tell you which software to use to provide the appropriate key noises.

Used to *piss* my cube mates off. :-)

(Course, it pissed *me* off, too, cause it would drop key noises when it got too busy.)