IBM’s venerable Model M keyboard is a true classic in the world of computing. Created in an era when personal computers were regarded as big ticket items and their manufacture was a highly competitive industry, it is not surprising that keyboards from the 1980’s were the beneficiaries of extensive engineering and high quality materials, especially since at the time they were the only input devices for many systems (except maybe a joystick once in a while).
The Model M keyboard boasts a legendary “buckling spring” type of key switch that was developed by IBM to emulate the experience of typing on a typewriter, which many of their potential users might find familiar and approachable. The buckling spring mechanism provides excellent audible and tactile feedback, and many users claim that they help improve your typing because they provide two forms of feedback at the exact moment of switch actuation. Keyboards today, if a computer even comes with one at all, are undoubtedly geared toward low cost and have almost no distinguishing features, so its no surprise that the Model M and other keyboards from that era are still popular among discerning users.
When I first saw the Bluefruit EZ-key HID module, I knew that I wanted to make a wireless Model M keyboard. There are plenty of examples open source keyboard controllers and converters, and since Bluefruit supports sending up to six keys at once based on input from the serial connection, I thought this should be possible. Keep reading to see the results of my experiment…
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.