TouchPad is a fully customisable USB keyboard designed for storing and producing keyboard shortcuts in a clean and user friendly manner. This allows you to map functions in any program to TouchPad's keys, speeding up your workflow. TouchPad can be used with programs ranging from word processing to advanced design software. TouchPad allows key customisation by hand or digitally, and uses a text editor based programmer for quick shortcut setup.
TouchPad's 36 capacitive keys can each be assigned a series of five key presses using the built-in programming mode. Alternatively, users familiar with Arduino can combine keyboard, mouse, MIDI or serial functions using the Arduino IDE.
What sets TouchPad apart from other macro keyboard solutions is the ability to quickly customise the keys to suit the task at hand. Combining capacitive touch with haptic feedback produces the feel of a mechanical keyboard but on a flat surface, allowing the use of our unique overlay system. Transparent overlays can be quickly swapped to match the current command set. TouchPad has five command sets, enabling a total of 180 customisable functions that you can tailor to five different applications.
Designed for Portability and Compatibility
TouchPad's light and slim design means it can be taken anywhere (TouchPad is a bare PCB so it is advised to transport it with care). The lack of need for specific drivers or software, in combination with its compatibility across Windows, Mac and Linux, makes it a flexible tool for any application.
Your customised setup is stored within TouchPad. This means TouchPad operates the same wherever you go, whatever device you are using.
Customisable and Versatile
Quickly switch between applications by swapping the transparent overlays. Overlays are customisable in the following ways:
- Drawing — Use the included permanent marker to customise one of the five included transparent overlays so that each key reflects its functionality. If you only want to make use of one command set, draw straight on TouchPad itself.
- Printing — Use the digital template provided to design and print an overlay matching your specific application. This requires some additional items not included in the TouchPad kit: laser/inkjet printable transparencies, a printer, scissors and a standard hole-punch.
Custom overlays can easily be aligned to TouchPad's keys using the location posts. The location posts are separated to conform with the ISO-838 size of standard hole-punches. The location posts can be adjusted to ensure perfect alignment of custom overlays.
Whether you choose to draw your overlays or design them digitally, the process is quick and straightforward. Designing digitally consists of four steps: design, print, cut and hole-punch.
One overlay designates 36 keys at once without the need to label keys individually and make permanent aesthetic changes to your keyboard.
Blank overlays can be cleaned and reused using permanent marker remover. If you need more blank overlays than are provided, print the blank template onto transparency film, cut and hole-punch.
Sleek Industrial Design
TouchPad's unique design belongs on everyone's desk. Four rubber feet keep TouchPad in place during use.
TouchPad does not require any special software or drivers to enable the basic functionality. The basic functionality allows up to 5 key presses to be assigned to each key including letters, numbers, symbols and modifiers, great for keyboard shortcuts. Several delay and repeat functions are also available (1mS, 10mS, 100mS, 1s, 5s, 10s and 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 10x, 20x). You can also program TouchPads key LEDs (except the bottom row which is predefined) to a pattern matching your command set, this will be displayed when you switch command set.
Using the portable On The Go programming mode involves opening any basic text editor, touching and swiping on TouchPad, and interacting with the user interface typed out by TouchPad. The On The Go programming mode has many advantages:
- Administrator rights are not an issue for office users.
- No need for specific drivers or software.
- Compatibility is ensured, as long as USB keyboards are supported.
The 6x6 grid typed out corresponds to TouchPad's 36 keys, by pressing the corresponding key on TouchPad functionality can be assigned to keys. Below is a detailed programming tutorial:
- The speed TouchPad can type out its programming interface may depend on your device/operating system. TouchPad has a feature built in to slow down the text output if your device can't keep up. Most devices work at the speed shown above but this is not guaranteed.
- This programming mode is entered by touching and swiping down on TouchPad. This mode can only be entered before any key presses occur to prevent accidental swipes typing all this information. To enter this mode after key presses have occurred you must remove and re-apply power to TouchPad.
TouchPad is integrated with the Arduino development environment, meaning you can easily edit the Open-Source firmware and upload it to TouchPad. This allows you to assign snippets of code to each key, giving you the ability to assign longer key sequences or other functionality to keys.
Using the Arduino IDE add keyboard, mouse, MIDI, serial or any other Arduino (32u4) compatible function to any key.
Arduino is easy to use software, with the setup process documented in the user manual and all necessary files provided.
- The standard firmware leaves around 10KB free for these modifications, if you do not require the On The Go programmer this can be increased.
- Other than basic documentation, Arduino programming support is not provided. Although, Arduino is very well supported online.
- TouchPad is primarily designed as a UK keyboard. The full range of key functionality above is available when TouchPad is defined as a UK keyboard in your operating system (the symbols above will vary based on your operating system). If TouchPad is defined as a US keyboard in your operating system then one key will be repeated meaning you have 2 less symbols, 1 less key. TouchPad will work with other language setups however the exact output is not defined here.
- The modifier key GUI is operating system dependent. It is the windows key for Windows and command key for mac.
1x TouchPad PCB from a prototype run or the final prouction run. These make great coasters!
TouchPad Kit 1x, 3x, 5x:
1 x TouchPad, 1 x 50cm micro USB cable, 1 x fine permanent marker, 5 x transparent overlays, user guide.
...or get 3 TouchPad kits:
3 x TouchPads, 3 x 50cm micro USB cables, 1 x fine permanent marker, 15 x transparent overlays, user guide.
...or get 5 TouchPad kits:
5 x TouchPads, 5 x 50cm micro USB cables, 1 x fine permanent marker, 25 x transparent overlays, user guide.
TouchPad custom office set:
Do you have a specific application that you think TouchPad would make easier? Back the TouchPad custom office set and we will work with you to develop a custom firmware and overlay design to suit your application. Then you will receive:
10 x Custom TouchPads (one custom command set), 10 x 50cm micro USB cables, 10 x customised overlays (one design) as well as the corresponding design files, user guide.
TouchPad has been through five hardware revisions and many more software revisions. We will keep hunting for bugs in the firmware over the next two months to ensure everything is sorted by the time it comes to programming the production boards. Here is a video explicitly demonstrating the current functionality of our prototype:
- \ bug at 7:43 has been fixed!
TouchPad will only become a reality if we can get enough people on-board. Please feel free to share to social media, blogs and forums as well as any other media channels. Use any of the content on this page or in the linked high resolution press kit.
Risks and challenges
As a project that has already been through the design and prototype stages of its development, TouchPad has already encountered and overcome many challenges. Challenges that we must still overcome to deliver your TouchPad to you are mainly logistical. This means in a worst case scenario, you might have to wait a little longer for your TouchPad to arrive than expected. These challenges involve finalising the source code, sourcing parts, coordinating assembly and programming the boards, packaging the final product and finally, shipping.
Source Code: All of the TouchPad's basic functionality is already implemented and fully functional. All that is left to do now is finalise the user interface and find any bugs that may have gone unnoticed.
Sourcing Parts: With the volumes we are expecting to be producing, this should not be difficult. TouchPad uses entirely off-the-shelf components meaning lead times are minimal. If the campaign significantly exceeds its target, this could cause the delivery date to be later.
Assembly and Programming: We are talking to manufacturers who are confident that they can produce TouchPad in the quantities we are expecting. Once again, if pledges significantly exceed the goal, it is possible delays may occur. Potential reasons for delay could be incorrect assembly leading to boards having to be reworked, or bugs being found in the firmware requiring boards to be reprogrammed. All resolvable problems, although at the cost of time.
Packaging: We already have a good idea of how the products will ship so no problems here.
Shipping: Fortunately TouchPads are light and small making this part a little easier. We also have a good idea of the services we will be using so we don't expect issues to arise here.
Like all hardware projects things can go wrong, but we are committed to getting the finished TouchPads to you as close to the expected date as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)