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£1,158 pledged of £3,000 goal
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By Robin Hartley
£1,158 pledged of £3,000 goal
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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

24d39d390c1b6e1f6206802c761558ad original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About this project

All Future Updates At: http://www.theamazingshortcutkeypad.com/

Say Hello To The Amazing Shortcut Keypad!  

The Amazing Shortcut Keypad is a USB keypad capable of automating anything your keyboard or mouse can do in any combination. This includes keyboard shortcuts, media commands, typing text and controlling the mouse. 

By combining these with delays and repeats, you can quickly create powerful computer automation to overcome repetitive tasks – saving you time and effort. 

If you'd like a little more detail on how you can use the drag and drop editor to set up automation on the keypad, you can check out this video:

It’s All About Open Source

It’s as simple as this – if this campaign reaches its goal, every part of this project will go Open Source and I’ll give you all the digital files you need to create your own shortcut keypad.

This will include the keypad software (which is 100% Arduino compatible) as well as STL files for 3D printing, build instructions, circuit diagrams, circuit board files, tutorials and, of course, the drag and drop automation editor. 

Even better, I’ll be releasing four different designs of keypad – they’re all pretty much identical in terms of software and circuitry, but they use different price components so you can choose a design which fits your price range. You can read more about the different designs further down the page. 

Whilst affordability was a major driver in creating the keypad, there are two elements which really set it apart – drag and drop automation and hackable hardware.

Drag and Drop Automation 

All automation is set up using a simple but powerful drag and drop automation editor. You simply select the button you want to programme and then drag and drop the automation you’d like to happen when that button is pressed. It’s really quick to get working and is designed to be as intuitive as possible. 

Hackable Hardware 

At the heart of The Amazing Shortcut Keypad is an Arduino-compatible microcontroller (a Pro Micro to be exact) which is programmed entirely using the Arduino IDE. 

This means that both the software and the hardware can be easily adapted to suit your automation needs. 

By tweaking a small piece of code, you could trigger automation using toggle switches, a potentiometer, a distance sensor or anything you like. If you can wire it up to an Arduino, you can use it to trigger automation using The Amazing Shortcut Keypad software – it’s that simple! 

The Four Designs 

1) A Button On A Breadboard 

It’s super simple, it’s super adaptable and super cheap (should be less than £10 to build). A single press of this button has all the functionality you see in the video and is programmed with the drag and drop automation editor – this is true of all four designs. 

This version was designed as a bare-bones version for people who either just want a basic circuit to adapt for themselves or who want to give the whole thing a try without investing too much up front. 

2) Matrix Keypad Design 

This version uses a little matrix keypad which is loved by hobbyists and is also a really good price. This is a nice entry – level version which gives you plenty of buttons to automate with. 

3) Silicon Button Design 

This is a light-up version which uses squishy silicon buttons and is built around the Adafruit Trellis Monochrome Driver PCB. It's compatible with any 3mm LEDS so get creative with your colours! 

4) Cherry MX Design 

This is the top end design which uses mechanical keys like you’d find in a high quality keyboard. In particular, it uses Cherry MX keys which are fitted with brightly-coloured keycaps. 

This is my favourite design as it’s an absolute joy to use and it gives you the opportunity to customise how it looks through your choice of keycaps. 

Where Did It Come From, Where Will it Go? 

I started this project because I wanted a shortcut keypad for myself as there was nothing on the market which had a good combination of speed to set up, ease of use, and affordability. 

Even more so, I wanted to automate like 10 different things one after the other at one button press, not just a single keyboard shortcut which is what most commercial keypads offered. 

Having made one for myself, I found it really useful and wanted to share what I had made so that others could experience the benefits of increasing their productivity and minimising wasted time/effort. Here’s what the first one looked like: 

My hope in the future is that this will become something which belongs to the community and it can be adapted to a wide range of applications. It could be used in assistive technology, uploaded to other keyboards, built into home automation systems or adopted as an office productivity tool. 

The only question remaining is, what will you use it for? 

Thanks for reading through and feel free to get in touch with any questions!

Robin

Risks and challenges

Drag and Drop Automation Editor

The challenge here is to make sure that the editor works on all computers and doesn’t let anyone down. As the software is programmed in Java, it should be platform independent and so no matter which operating system you are running, it should function as intended so long as you are running a recent enough version of Java.

The second part of this is USB drivers which need to be installed for the drag and drop editor to communicate with the keypad. Luckily, the Arduino IDE installs all of the necessary drivers and so if you can upload code to an Arduino, then you should have everything you need for the drag and drop editor to work.

I have tested out the software on a number of different computers and have done everything I can to ensure it works as intended. If anything comes up, I will do my best to get it resolved right away.

3D Printing

The challenge here is to ensure that the 3D print designs I’ve created always fit the components. As there is some variation between 3D printers and different materials, it is possible that the size of the casing may vary slightly.

To compensate for this, I have left a reasonable amount of tolerance in the designs so that they should fit regardless of how they are printed. I have also printed the components in different materials and on different printers to ensure that they still fit.

Keyboard and Mouse Simulation

As the Arduino inside the keypad simulates a keyboard and a mouse, it is possible that different operating systems may respond slightly differently. I have had no problems so far with keyboard simulation abilities although mouse clicking can be a bit temperamental on macs.

However, I have only seen this once and if it is a problem which occurs elsewhere then I’ll do my best to find a way around it.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.27

    Friend of TASK

    You're a friend of The Amazing Shortcut Keypad (TASK) and for that you will get updates throughout the campaign and a thank you email for your support.

    If the funding goal is reached, every part of this project will be released Open Source and you'll get a link to everything you need to build your own shortcut keypad.

    This includes keypad software (Arduino-Compatible), build instructions, STL files for 3D printing, circuit designs, tutorials and the drag and drop automation editor.

    That's well over 1000 hours of keypad development delivered right to your inbox.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Amazing Backer

    You're amazing! Your name will be proudly displayed on the keypad website so that everyone knows you helped bring The Amazing Shortcut Keypad to life.

    You'll also get the benefits of the 'Friend of TASK' reward.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $25

    You Sourcey Thing!

    Your name will be proudly listed in the keypad source code (Arduino-Compatible) which is uploaded to the keypad itself and also in the source code for the drag and drop automation editor.

    This reward includes the two previous tiers so your name will be popping up on screens all round the globe!

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $63

    Get a Load of This

    Every time the drag and drop automation editor is opened, the name of a random 'Get A Load of This' backer will be displayed on the editor loading screen.

    One day you'll open the editor and right there, front and centre for all to see will be your name - proudly displayed to say thank you for your support of this project.

    This includes all the benefits of the 'You Sourcey Thing!' reward.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $127

    Savvy Advertiser

    Catch the eyes of makers, keyboard lovers and productivity optimisers the world over by advertising your company, blog or channel in the keypad source code.

    Your company/blog/channel name, a one-line description and your website will be listed at the top of the keypad source code (Arduino - Compatible) and also in the source code for the drag and drop automation editor.

    This includes all the benefits of the 'You Sourcey thing!' reward.

    Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £200 or more About $253

    Let's Get Func(y)

    Have a function named after you in the Arduino-compatible software which is uploaded to the keypad itself. This is the software that everyone will see.

    Get in touch if you're interested in this reward. Clearly, it has to be something which is polite enough to be shared with the world!

    Puns are encouraged.

    This includes all of the benefits of the 'Get A Load Of This' reward.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £800 or more About $1,014

    TASK Master

    You are the master of The Amazing Shortcut Keypad, in other words, the TASK Master!

    This is a flexible goal which can be adapted to your interests. It is essentially like a sponsorship of the keypad.

    You could have 'brought to life by [you/your company]' next to the title of The Amazing Shortcut Keypad on the website and in all related media etc.

    You could also have your name/your company name written onto the circuit board for the Cherry MX version.

    Please get in touch if you are considering this reward.

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Funding period

- (28 days)