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spiffchorder:faq [2010/03/27 09:18]
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spiffchorder:faq [2010/04/02 12:32] (current)
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 ====== SpiffChorder FAQ ====== ====== SpiffChorder FAQ ======
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  ===- What exactly is the SpiffChorder?​ ===  ===- What exactly is the SpiffChorder?​ ===
-The SpiffChorder is an implementation of chording keyboard [[wp>​Chorded keyboard]]. ​ It is an input device where characters are typed by pressing multiple keys at the same time. It was designed to entirely replace a computer keyboard. ​ Specifically,​ the SpiffChorder consists of the hardware and software needed to emulate a conventional usb keyboard in an object or objects with only a small number of keys or switches on it.  For the purposes of building one, you can think of it as functionally consisting of four main components, ​two hardware, and two software: +The SpiffChorder is an implementation of chording keyboard [[wp>​Chorded keyboard]]. ​ It is an input device where characters are typed by pressing multiple keys at the same time. It was designed to entirely replace a computer keyboard. ​ Specifically,​ the SpiffChorder consists of the hardware and software needed to emulate a conventional usb keyboard in an object or objects with only a small number of keys or switches on it.  For the purposes of building one, you can think of it as functionally consisting of six main components, ​three hardware, and three software: 
-  - the circut ​board: the actual electronics not including the keyswitches,​ you will likely not modify this part, you just build it.   +  ​* Hardware 
-  - the input device: the thing with the keyswitches on it.  Just about anything you can get an open/closed signal from can be used a a keyswitch. Typically this consists of keyswitches on some sort of object that fits in or straps to your hand, sits on a desk or is part of an article of clothing, or a dashboard but it can also be a separate electronic device that turns finger or other motion into on/off signals. ​ You can model this after one of the existing patterns or put your switches on anything you think will work. +    - an Atmel atmega168 or atmega8 pic: This is the computer in your keyboard. ​ It will run the software below to translate your keypresses into usb keycodes. 
-  - the keymap files: the part of the software that maps chords to keyboard events. ​ This is easy to modify without any knowledge of programming languages.  +    ​- the circuit ​board: the actual electronics not including the keyswitches,​ you will likely not modify this part, you just build it.   
-  - the program: the rest of the software. ​ Written in C, you will likely not modify any of these files.+    - the input device: the thing with the keyswitches on it.  Just about anything you can get an open/closed signal from can be used a a keyswitch. Typically this consists of keyswitches on some sort of object that fits in or straps to your hand, sits on a desk or is part of an article of clothing, or a dashboard but it can also be a separate electronic device that turns finger or other motion into on/off signals. ​ You can model this after one of the existing patterns or put your switches on anything you think will work. 
 +  ​* Software 
 +    ​- the keymap files: the part of the software that maps chords to keyboard events. ​ This is easy to modify without any knowledge of programming languages.  
 +    - the program: the rest of the software. ​ Written in C, you will likely not modify any of these files. 
 +    - the usb bootloader (optional): this part of the software once installed, allows you to reprogram your pic over the usb line without a separate pic programmer. ​ This code is used by the SpiffChorder if you want this functionality but it is  not  required and not something we wrote. It has sometimes been a problem to get working. ​ The archive of the SpiffChorder code includes the usb bootloader code and instructions for compiling your SpiffChorder with or without it.  
  
  ===- Multiple Keys? How many? ===  ===- Multiple Keys? How many? ===
 The circuit design of the SpiffChorder allows for up to 8 keys for chording and up to 3 additional keys that can be used as modifiers (ctrl, alt, shift). ​ The implementation that sees the most use consists of a total of 7 keys all used for chording in this case the modifiers are also entered as chords. ​ The circuit design of the SpiffChorder allows for up to 8 keys for chording and up to 3 additional keys that can be used as modifiers (ctrl, alt, shift). ​ The implementation that sees the most use consists of a total of 7 keys all used for chording in this case the modifiers are also entered as chords. ​
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  ===- Are all possible variations "​stable"​ ===  ===- Are all possible variations "​stable"​ ===
  No, since you can change the code and you can modify the keybindings you could render it unstable. ​ You could create a keymap where you have no way to get out of a special mode or state unless you unplug it (for example, no way to undo caps lock). ​ However, if you exercise a little planning and care in designing your keymaps, this should not be an issue. The SpiffChorder device and the [[modified_nasa]] have been in daily use for over two years so we feel safe saying that this combination is "​stable"​.  ​  No, since you can change the code and you can modify the keybindings you could render it unstable. ​ You could create a keymap where you have no way to get out of a special mode or state unless you unplug it (for example, no way to undo caps lock). ​ However, if you exercise a little planning and care in designing your keymaps, this should not be an issue. The SpiffChorder device and the [[modified_nasa]] have been in daily use for over two years so we feel safe saying that this combination is "​stable"​.  ​
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  ===- How much does it cost to build? ===  ===- How much does it cost to build? ===
-The software is open and free. You only pay for the parts of your chorder. ​ The circuit can be built for under $25 US. The input device cost depends on what you want to use for switches and such, if you want a 7 key desktop or handheld chorder you can do that with good keys for under $10 US, if you want to embed a sensor system for chording in the latest haute couture, then you may spend a little more.  In addition you will need access to a programmer for the amtel microprocessor. ​ If you don't have that Greg will program your chip for you at no cost.  Just send him a chip and a self addressed stamped envelope. Contact him first to confirm address and schedule.+The software is open and free. You only pay for the parts of your chorder. ​ The circuit can be built for under $25 US. The input device cost depends on what you want to use for switches and such, if you want a 7 key desktop or handheld chorder you can do that with good keys for under $10 US, if you want to embed a sensor system for chording in the latest haute couture, then you may spend a little more.  In addition you will need access to a programmer for the atmel microprocessor ​to load the code the first time.  If you don't have that Greg will program your chip for you at no cost.  Just send him a chip and a self addressed stamped envelope. Contact him first to confirm address and schedule. ​ ​However,​ programmers are not that expensive and depending on where you live, it may be cheaper to make or even buy a programmer than to mail chips back and forth. 
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spiffchorder/faq.1269695932.txt.gz · Last modified: 2010/03/27 09:18 by priestdo
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