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The Awesome Button 80

Posted by Roblimo
from the learn-by-playing-around dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An awesome hardware hack which demonstrates how easily USB-based human interface devices (eg, Keyboards and Mice) can be created using the Arduino software environment." A very nice little project based on the Teensy USB Development Board. Reminds me of the breadboard electronics projects my Dad used to work on with me many years ago. "Great fun for young and old," you might say.
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The Awesome Button

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  • Yea we know about V-USB

    http://www.obdev.at/products/vusb/index.html [obdev.at]

    move on

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This isn't V-USB, which requires pretty advanced C programming knowledge. It's based on the Arduino software, which makes it far easier and more accessible.

      Sure, the final result is the same if you're in that elite C coder camp, and you probably even view Arduino as a toy not worthy of your attention.

      But for the rest of us, Arduino makes the things that ought to be easy, well, easy. You could even same it's awesome^H^H^H^H^H^H excellent.

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        I am not a elite C coder, I use arduino, I use v-usb on arduino yea theres a lib for that, the lib's on teensy are the same magic scary C stuff, just with the external hardware on chip

        move on past the blinking led and sparkfun serial lcd, there is a whole world you can mess with even with an arduino

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Obligatory Ardunio is overkill / Ardunio sucks / Ardunio is ruining electronic my hobby / Could be easier and cheaper with a [PIC|Discret logic|mechanical relays|paper clips and bubblegum] / Ardunio kicked my dog and punched my sister

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      Yeah, I don't get the whole "Arduino" fetish. Nothing wrong with it but it's not really anything new. If you're raving about it, you should get out a little more.

      • by billstewart (78916) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @03:21PM (#35769578) Journal

        Arduino gives you all the pieces you need to start using microcontrollers - hardware and software environments, lots of contributed libraries and applications. If you want to write stuff from scratch you can, but if you want to get started building your blinky-light thing, it's all there, and then you can go on to more complex projects. It has a few limitations (Teensy gets around the USB-vs-serial issues, for instance), but it's pretty complete and extremely expandable. If you're more interested in tweaking bits, you can use many different tools, but if you're really trying to add blinky lights to your backpack or move the servo arms on a robot thingy or program the lights on your Christmas tree to respond to music or controlling your thermostat, you can use the Arduino tools to do that without diving into the bit-bashing first.

        And yes, you could have just bought the AVR ATmega chip yourself, but then you'd have needed a in-circuit chip-programmer device, which costs just about the same as an Arduino, and you can load a program into the Arduino to make it be a chip-programmer, so you might as well buy the Arduino anyway.

  • My button is perfectly cromulent, thank you very much.
  • A button that inserts synonyms for "awesome" is a worse perversion of English than just using "awesome". However, I guess it's better than having an "easy" button.

    • [facepalm] (Score:5, Funny)

      by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @02:53PM (#35769386) Homepage

      That is why it is called 'slang'.

      It is not supposed to mean what the original definition is.

      If you are old enough, you would probably have taken people to task for misusing the word 'square'. Which amusingly enough, would have made you one :)

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by zanian (1621285)

        That is why it is called 'slang'.

        It is not supposed to mean what the original definition is.

        If you are old enough, you would probably have taken people to task for misusing the word 'square'. Which amusingly enough, would have made you one :)

        There is nothing wrong with slang. However, sometimes slang cheapens the original meaning of a word. I use awesome as slang often enough myself, but it should be reserved for things that are truly awe-inspiring. Things like the notion of God, the universe, even the holocaust (which demonstrates a negative thing that is still awesome). Using the word as slang is fine, I'm not the language police. However, overusing adjectives and thinking that they all mean the same thing is terrible.

        Your example is wro

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @12:41PM (#35768578) Homepage

    Yes, the USB HID interface is quite easy to use. I've dealt with it from the other side, using a Logitec steering wheel, mouse, and pedals to control a robot vehicle.

    Force feedback via that interface is lame, though. I wanted to have the steering wheel track what the vehicle steering was actually doing, so you'd feel the resistance of the real steering. You could spin the steering wheel, and it would take a second or so for the real vehicle's steering to catch up. But the HID interface for steering wheels is more like an audio device, intended for vibration, not positional feedback.

    Incidentally, you can have many HID devices, and they don't have to pretend to be the main mouse and keyboard. Applications aware of them can use them for other inputs.

  • Think of the custom game controller possibilities for PC-based gaming.

    With some custom DIY mechanical design you could make foot controls, chair arm controls, etc all fed through the keyboard interface.
    This little USB gadget makes it much easier.

    Awesome!
    • by Servaas (1050156)
      You also use a 2 dollar throwaway keyboard, rip out the print board and solder directly to a keyboard interface. Sure you loose the keyboard codes that you use but its cheaper, easier, and entirely not my idea. But I am using it to make me an SNES pad to USB.
      • Every keyboard I've seen have a huge circuit board, how to do deal with that? It would seem the teensy would be better, it's already small, and maybe less prone to failure vs. using a cut-up keyboard circuit board.

        • by mrmeval (662166)

          http://hackedgadgets.com/2010/05/10/computer-keyboard-disassembly-and-cleaning/ [hackedgadgets.com]

          http://www.instructables.com/id/Hacking-a-USB-Keyboard/ [instructables.com]

          It's a tiny board. the chip is under a blob of goo. The only downside is it has to be a working keyboard so you can use a multimeter to know what pins goes to what key. It's tedious but not terribly hard. Once you know the key matrix you have for the princely sum of 9 dollars a USB dongle that you can wire up how ever you want. You literally have as many inputs as keys.

          What I

          • by Chelloveck (14643)

            The only downside is it has to be a working keyboard so you can use a multimeter to know what pins goes to what key. It's tedious but not terribly hard. Once you know the key matrix you have for the princely sum of 9 dollars a USB dongle that you can wire up how ever you want.

            But is it worth the hassle when you can buy a ready-to-use interface board [groovygamegear.com] for $30 more?

            • by Chelloveck (14643)
              Bah, forget I posted that. Now that I've actually read the article I see that the Teensy does a better job and is cheaper. But the point still stands -- when you can get something like this for $20 or $25, why bother ripping apart a keyboard and tracing out the circuit?
              • by mrmeval (662166)

                If you have the time you acquire additional skillz and you get tasty sushi.

                Can you hack a microwave controller to do some other task?

                How about using 'disposable cameras as strobes?

                $25 dollars is a basket full of items at a thrift store that can be used for some other purpose. Or sushi

            • by mrmeval (662166)

              For $28.95 I can get fantastic sushi with hot saki. Yes it's worth it. I used the price of a new keyboard to show even that is cheaper.. I can get keyboards for $3 at thrift stores.

              Or something cooler. http://symlink.dk/projects/c64key/ [symlink.dk]

  • by PPH (736903) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @12:48PM (#35768636)

    "In Soviet Russia..."
    "Personally, I welcome our .... overlords."
    "You insensitive clod!"
    "CowboyNeal is a .... "

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Geez, this is really not awe-inspiring, nor is it overwhelming. A gadget that is a one word thesaurus is hardly breathtaking. It is absolutely not a magnificent project. For sure it is not frightening, not even a little intimidating. It is an astonishingly stupid waste of time.

    • Who called the fun police?

    • Punny. You're either taking things too seriously, or not doing a good job of making fun of taking it too seriously.

      I don't know if you finished it, but the video acknowledges that most people wouldn't want to make one. It does, however show how a circuit can be easily used in custom projects without taking a significant amount of time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    NSFW, boss approaching, just slap it quick!

  • by jfengel (409917) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @01:24PM (#35768884) Homepage Journal

    Attention writers and summary writers: they key information (like "What does it do?") goes FIRST. Not buried in the middle of a paragraph. DEFINITELY not to be omitted entirely from the summary.

    So, this is the sentence from TFA that should have begun the article and the summary:

    It’s a plug-and-play USB device that will type a random synonym for the word “awesome” when the button is pressed.

    Then the rest of us can say, "Gosh, that sounds pretty damn lame" and move on with our lives far more efficiently.

    • by pavon (30274) on Saturday April 09, 2011 @01:31PM (#35768932)

      Of course, Iâ(TM)m not totally serious about this particular application, but I wanted to show how you can make your own custom USB human interface device

      The actual point was exactly what the summary said; to show how to make simple USB HID devices. The specific example used to demonstrate this was immaterial. In other words, just because "Hello World" is a lame program doesn't mean that tutorials including it are.

      • just because "Hello World" is a lame program doesn't mean that tutorials including it are.

        Right. Were it not for the fact that many arduino projects don't see themselves as Hello-word-tutorials but as clever hacks.

        Trying to scratch your nose with a four foot pole might be ok if you're trying to prove some other point. Just don't hype it as the most clever idea ever.

        • But this really was a Hello-world-tutorial, and presented as such. The application itself was slightly lamer than printing "hello world", but that wasn't really the point.

          • by jfengel (409917)

            The article, for the most part, did in fact present itself as a tutorial. Especially in the context of MAKE magazine.

            It's the Slashdot article which requires a device to generate synonyms for "bad".

      • No, the summary's title was about an "Awesome Button", and the first sentence mentioned an "awesome hardware hack". The focus of the summary (if not the article) was definitely on how awesome the hack was (not very).

        If the title of the summary was "Build Your Own USB HID" or "Basic Arduino Tutorial", you might have a point.

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        An anonymous reader writes
        "Awesome software code which demonstrates how easily code can be created using the Arduino software environment."
        A very nice little project based on the (generic code project). Reminds me of the software my Dad used to work on with me many years ago. "Great fun for young and old," you might say.

        Is that a useful summary of Hello World? No, because it DOESN'T SUMMARIZE ANYTHING. "There's some code, it does some stuff, and reminds me of my dad" isn't a summary, it's just blathering.

    • The demonstrated project the entire focus of the article. It's from Make for crying out loud. It's just an article on how easy it really is to create HID devices.

      • Somehow I forgot to insert "wasn't" between "project" and "the". Whoops.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        The title of the Slashdot article is "The Awesome Button", with no indication of what's so awesome about it.

        The title of TFA is somewhat better: "The AWESOME Button: A Made-to-Measure USB Input Device". I have bigger complaints there that it's mostly in the video.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    he's using a Mac, can't take him too seriously as a hacker.
  • Did anyone else think of this video [youtube.com] when they saw the words "awesome" and "button" connected?
  • Just solder your fancy button to an existing button on an existing keyboard, then re-map that key to your requirements.

  • TFA is the first link.

    I swear, you used to be able to open a Slashdot submission and know which was the actual link to the TFA.

    What's with this current trend of camoflaguing links in your text so nobody knows which link is the important one? In this case the TFA link has the text "USB-based human interface devices" which doesn't really indicate you'll find this "awesome button" article behind it. The second one which says "Arduino" is a link to a random Slashdot submission about the Arduino. And the thir

  • Keep the speaker, attach the button to a much larger box, and make it play random sound samples instead of typing.

    "Yes!" "No!" "Hell no!" "Ask again later." "Sell!" "We're all gonna die!" "Bees!"

  • After reading the title, I thought it was referring to some new feature to be included in Firefox...

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington

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