The quest for the tactile buttons in the movie “Sneakers” @DigiKey @Regorlas

Roger Cheng’s fantastic story on tracking down the ultracool tactile buttons used on a panel in the 1992 movie Sneakers.

And one of the best looking buttons I’ve seen was from the 1992 movie Sneakers. When the blind character Whistler used a Braille-labeled device to add a sound effect representing the “thump” sound of a car going over seams of a concrete bridge.

After some detective work, it was determined that Whistler’s device is a Sequential Circuits Prophet 2002 Digital Sampler rack. As befitting the movie character, the sampler’s control panel had Braille labels covering the default text. But otherwise it appeared relatively unmodified for the movie.

After finding some replacement switches offered on eBay, Cheng turned to the Digi-Key catalog. The search used:

  • Part Status: Active
  • Stocking Options: In Stock
  • Type: Keyswitch, Illuminated
  • Illumination Type, Color: LED, Red

That filter cut the number of possibilities from 175,722 down to 21.

Most of the 21 results had a very similar aesthetic and would make an acceptable substitute, but that would not be necessary because I saw the Omron B3J-2100.

Yes, I’ve hit the jackpot! Even if that isn’t precisely the correct replacement for a Prophet 2002 sampler, it has the right aesthetics: a dark angular block with the round LED poking out. But now that I’ve found the component, I can perform web searches with its name to confirm that others have also decided Omron B3J is the correct replacement.

And now we can all build cool projects with this really neat switch – just head over to Digi-Key using this link”

https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/omron-electronics-inc-emc-div/B3J-2100/700006


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1 Comment

  1. James W Williams

    By coincidence, i just watched “Sneakers” for the first time in years and I remember seeing those buttons and thinking how much I liked them back when they were common. Nice to know I could still get them if I wanted to.

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