Author Topic: Wearable Wireless Split Keyboard Glove with integrated Trackball (BLE 5, USB-C)  (Read 2464 times)

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Offline serapath

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Hey, I'm a web software developer and I'm new and have no or little experience with making hardware.

I would love to know if anyone ever came across a QERTY-Style keyboard that would fit the description:
"Wearable Wireless Split Keyboard Glove with integrated Trackball (BLE 5, USB-C)"

If not, would anyone be interested in planning and working on something like this?
It would be all open source and I can pay and contribute what I can.

1. I was working on a 3D model (programmatic CAD) so it will be easy to integrate it into a website and let people input their finger/hand measurements to auto-adjust the size.
see: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNxENndziy1R-nHRc6rbz4TRRPldppAM8

2. I also modelled a playdoh version of the device
see: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bru9IHChpz1/
see: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bru7G-Rh46v/

The point is to have the keys and everything fully programmable over USB-C or Bluetooth 5 from a web browser.
=> I can build software, even though it will be challenging

I need help with all the rest, especially the hardware part so that it will fit into that form.

I'm also open to any ideas how to make it as comfortable and minimal to wear as possible :-)

So - if any of you has some time on the weekends and is interested in making such a device and make it open source,
I'd be personally willing to pay as much as I can to help develop it.
It's not urgent, but I'd like to push it forward and have an online video call once a week.

I'm also happy if anyone could recommend me somebody or some place regarding how to make progress on this, because I'm kind of stuck with the little progress I made so far since 2016.

cheers
Alex

Offline equalunique

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Awesome!

Maybe you can enlist Gondolindrim for help on the hardware side. He made a recent post here. Check it out!

Sent from my Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 using Tapatalk


Offline serapath

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Thank you very much :-)
I'm new to this forum. How do I find Gondolindrim or rather what does "enlisting" mean? ...and how do I find his recent post? :-)

Offline equalunique

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Thank you very much :-)
I'm new to this forum. How do I find Gondolindrim or rather what does "enlisting" mean? ...and how do I find his recent post? :-)

This is the post where Gondolindrim advertized his hardware services: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=104065.0;topicseen

He's done a great job with the open source SharkPCB project: https://github.com/Gondolindrim/SharkPCB

Online yui

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There is a few similar projects that have been done in the past, all handwired from what i have seen, and matias made a one handed keyboard (https://matias.ca/halfkeyboard/). not 100% what you were looking for but maybe a starting point.
I have not seen Gondolindrim making multipart/flex pcb keyboards, actually i have not seen much flex pcb keyboard projects other than the custom M project a while back, could be an interesting experiment.
vi vi vi - the roman number of the beast (Plan9 fortune)

Offline equalunique

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There is a few similar projects that have been done in the past, all handwired from what i have seen, and matias made a one handed keyboard (https://matias.ca/halfkeyboard/). not 100% what you were looking for but maybe a starting point.
I have not seen Gondolindrim making multipart/flex pcb keyboards, actually i have not seen much flex pcb keyboard projects other than the custom M project a while back, could be an interesting experiment.

Flex PCBs would be amazing. There is only one design that I know of using FlexPCB for a sculpted keyboard: The Lime40 by Yukari (@eucalyn_).



If one donates to him, one can then download some of his design files. I don't know if that includes any PCB design files, but at least 3D printing files are part of the deal. I'd like to get more involved myself, but I don't know Japanese, so am not really sure where to start.

You can see the construction involves a Flex PCB for the switches, and a controller board on a regular PCB that connects to the switches. I'm sure at the very least Gondolindrim can assist with the controller PCB & possibly even firmware parts. Also, if Flex PCB proves too difficult, then one can simply matrix some 1u PCBs meant for DIY boards. Here's an example build:



More pics of that build here.



Offline serapath

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Wow, people you are so awesome :-)

I have never gotten so much positive feedback and help or inspiration yet.
I came across the `mathias` keyboard, but it needs a surface and lacks a mouse, but it's around for a long time and a cool keyboard :-)
I also stumbled across the lime40 which looks very amazing - it doesn't have a mouse though.

I collected some inspiration in a pinterest board https://www.pinterest.de/serapath/prisonbreak/

The playdoh version has a lot of keys and the point it to max out the amount of keys a hand can possibly reach while wearing a glove that attaches the keyboard in an appropriate shape to the heel of your hand or the gloves inner side of your hand and it is supposed to have a trackball too.

I am not in a hurry, but the requirements are very important and i currently hope to translate into technical requirements, like:
1. is a flex pcb the better/preferred option to make this actually minimal and make it work?
2. how many keys can possibly be put onto each keyboardglove?
3. ...

I also saw this design from `irveln` https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/comments/9tyk5r/idea_for_an_ergonomic_thumb_cluster_has_something/ which is inspirational.
I'm not fixated on the exact shape of the playdoh model, but want to iterate on it to make it as minimal and ergonomic as possible, but having also as many keys as possible on it.

Otherwise, I feel this approach to PCB https://deskthority.net/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=11420&start= is very interesting, because it seems to make things more modular and minimal.
After seeing https://imgur.com/r/MechanicalKeyboards/PBKDMJl i think the "PCB per key" is a good approach, because you could eventually "snap" them into slots of the 3D printed model and then wire them up.

I'm looking for feedback and input from people to get a better idea about the direction or what layout and keys to choose in the end.
1. One requirement is, that the "thumb area" on both "keyboard gloves" is reserved for trackballs.
2. Otherwise, the 4 remaining fingers on each "keyboard glove" should be able to deal with or reach 36 keys at minimum but rather ~40 keys
not every row needs the full amount, but a 6 x 7 key grid would be the target
« Last Edit: Mon, 06 January 2020, 14:36:52 by serapath »

Offline nevin

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if you're really going after the wearable/glove idea, regular switches are not going to be an option.

look at the DataHand as inspiration. also, fellow member, iso is currently working on his version of it, the ErgoDAH. see it here.
in this one, he is using switches that are found in mice. (much smaller than standard switches, or even choc switches)
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline serapath

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Thx @nevin

I tried to look it up and wasn't aware of choc mini switches. I thought there are no smaller switches than the standard ones.
I found a website which mentions dimensions: https://www.anandtech.com/show/11851/kailh-introduces-low-profile-mini-chocolate-keyswitches
  • So standard and probably original choc switches as mentioned have the size:  15mm x 15mm x 11mm
  • The choc mini switch size is: 14.5mm(W) x 13.5mm(D) x 8.2mm(H)

I found an example of a keyboard which uses them, but not the `mini` ones it seems.
* https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3744277
* https://imgur.com/r/mechanicalkeyboards/HZD6d

Here I could see the mini ones: https://imgur.com/a/yrECe

Where can I buy them, i am not sure i found the a place:
* http://www.kailh.com/en/Products/Ks/NotebookS/
* http://www.kailh.com/en/Products/Ks/CS/

are any of those the `mini ones`?

----------------------------------------------------

I also checked the "mouse switches" and saw some of them before and have them listed in my pinterest board i linked in my post above (https://pinterest.com/serapath/prisonbreak)

The problem with solutions like this: https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=104041
is, that 5 fingers times 4-5 click directions is 20-25 clicks per hand.
  • That's probably not enough buttons and if the thumb uses a trackball, its just 4 fingers, thus 16-20 clicks per hand
  • It's not at all qwerty related anymore, so people have to learn this from scratch and who knows how durable it is too

Offline serapath

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I was drawing a grid with the size for mini choc switches, but instead of `13.5` i did `14` and instead of `14.5` i did `15`, so between each key there would be `1mm` wiggle room.

I then tried to reach each of the key surfaces with my fingers male medium sized hand (according to https://www.healthline.com/health/average-hand-size#takeaway) and succeeded. Maybe a properly curved and more ergonomic layout could improve this further.

Here is a picture


The amound of keys is:
* 6x4 = 24 keys on the bottom
* 6x6 = 36 keys on the vertical surface
* 1x6 = 6 on top of the vertical surface

That's a maximum of a total of 66 keys per hand
Given two such gloves for both hands means a possible total of 132 keys which is way more than needed, so it is totally possible to:

1. either leave out a few keys
2. or use the larger normal switches instead of the mini ones, because they don't add a lot
3. or come up with a smart key layout so that someone could actually totally be fine with only a single "keyboard glove" instead of one for each hand

« Last Edit: Thu, 09 January 2020, 08:06:44 by serapath »

Offline nevin

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yes, a project like this will be very experimental. to get by with that number of keys you use multiple layers with a modifier. i.e. a single switch will output different characters depending on what modifier is being held/activated. look at any keymap for any keyboard that's 40% or smaller.

plank (40%) - https://olkb.com/planck     (watch the video on the page)
matias half keyboard - https://matias.ca/halfkeyboard/
DataHand (keymap)
233280-0233282-1
from - http://octopup.org/computer/datahand
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68


Offline nevin

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cool. really digging the Azeron stuff. 1st i've seen them, so thanks. will keep them on my radar.

another thought... instead of mice switches, what about optical sensors, would be even more discrete and open up a whole new way to make and break the optical beam (but i don't think optical has been figured out yet in qmk/tmk)

...also the TAP strap keyboard thing...
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline serapath

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Thx @nevin

1. The `tap strap` - like other keyboards - needs a proper surface to function well. Using ones body works not great and doing lots of special characters like the ones you need for programming and also using the mouse is not really great and can't compare to a proper keyboard/mouse setup.

2. The `Azeron stuff` and generally that style of keys is very non-standard with a learning curve and I could not find a vendor to order those kinds of keys, so I think for now I would try to stick with regular keys

3. Optical sensors, like e.g. `leap motion` are great and will probably improve, but most software as of today is optimized for keyboard mouse and optical sensors lack the haptic feedback from pressing keys and also are not as precise if you actually wanted to type as fast as you can on a proper keyboard, so again - not practical

=> In order to be the same productive as with a regular keyboard and mouse, the available technology as of today suggests to me that traditional keys would be the way to go. And secondly, traditional keys with a regular QWERTY layout, even though configurable, makes it most familiar to most users and keeps the learning curve low.

Once people switch to that kind of device - of course it's open source - so people can experiment with variations and/or re-mappings of keys to see if they can find better alternatives, but in order to get started in the first place my decision is to keep it as close to familiar QWERTY keyboard + mouse and the fact that it's "split" and "wearable" and has a "trackball" is already enough of a deviation :-)



Offline nevin

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...split and close to qwerty.... i'd suggest 5x7s like my keeb.io viterbi. anything smaller you lose a normal number row and the punctuation/characters on the right side of board (as you mentioned about programming). this is the best compromise with being split/ergo but staying very close to standard layout.
Keeb.io Viterbi, Apple m0110, Apple m0120, Apple m0110a, Apple 658-4081, Apple M1242, Apple AEK II, MK96, GH60/Pure, Cherry g84-4100, Adesso AKP-220B, Magicforce 68

Offline equalunique

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Today while researching the new NK_ Sherbet switches, I found this unrelated project, and it appears to be close to this one.

Link: http://www.billiam.org/2019/05/29/sherbet-an-ergonomic-keypad

That must mean there is demand for this type of keyboard!

Sent from my Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: Wed, 22 January 2020, 11:01:16 by equalunique »

Offline serapath

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Thanks a lot for sharing the link to that project.
I definitely can see some similarities on the surface, but I think the amount of keys the `Sherbet` is just 24 per "hand" and it has a joystick instead of a keyboard - that's already a significant difference, but the **main difference is their goal**

The entire **goal** of the project I have in mind is, that it does not need a surface but it is wearable.
So the entire design and everything can change if that supports that goal better than the current idea.
I have never seen a qwerty keyboard with some kind of mouse functionality (e.g. trackballl) which would get rid of the need for a surface.

Btw. I'm actively looking for people who are interested and have time to help me and I think I can even pay - so if anyone reading this is interested or knows somebody, please reach out :-)