How do you switch-adapt over 100 toys for kids in a single day? Over 40 volunteers working over 8 hours of controlled chaos certainly helps!
Thank you to our two FRC Teams (Roaring Riptide #4118 & GRA-V #5816), FACTUR for the use of their event space & equipment, U.F. Engineering’s B.O.T.S. team, LessonPix.com for financial support (and Pizza!) and everyone who gave their Sunday to help out the kids F.A.A.S.T. serves!
Great News! Ablenet has open-sourced the IntelliKeys drivers!
Thousands of people use the IntelliKeys programmable USB keyboards to access their computers, communicate, and even speak with text-to-speech. Recently Ablenet (who now owns the IntelliTools products) decided not to continue producing them.
Thankfully, they have chosen to Open Source the drivers. This is a huge decision, and we want to do everything we can to make that decision a winning one. So, we’re looking for some Makers to help port the drivers to Windows 10 & the latest OS/X and perhaps rework the firmware to make the devices more flexible and cross-platform
Live Teardown of IntelliKeys
To that end, Micah Elizabeth Scott (aka “@scanlime” on Twitter & YouTube) and Bill Binko from ATMakers tore into two keyboards and the source code to see where we stand in terms of hardware, software and approach. You can watch along here:
Where we stand now
After the teardown, we’ve learned a few important things:
- The device uses a Cypress 8051-based microcontroller with 8K of non-volatile memory. This means we probably have enough room to store true HID-keyboard code plus overlay data directly on the device
- The hardware is simple and sturdy with a grid-based membrane that is polled using a some very retro Flip-Flop chips (very old-school). This approach can be used going forward.
- The device does advertise itself as an HID-compliant keyboard, but in reality it does not actually send HID keystrokes. It send proprietary commands that the Windows driver then maps to keystrokes using the overlay data. This is a simplistic approach that can be improved upon.
- The current drivers can probably be tweaked to run on Windows 10 & the latest OS/X, and we will make that effort.
- We will also attempt a re-write of the firmware and overlay management code to work in a cross-platform, standards-compliant way.
Where to learn more
To learn more about the IntelliKeys Open Source initiative, please check out:
- The ATMakers Facebook Group, where there are regular discussion about this topic
- The GitHub Repository for the open source driver code (and any future improvements)
- Eliza Wern’s Survey tracking how people are using these devices
We’re very happy to be moving this project forward. If you’d like to help technically, please let us know.
Recently we’ve started getting requests from AT professionals, SLPs, and parents who really want to make one of our projects, but don’t have a 3D Printer. Well, we have good news: you don’t need one!
We’ve got three great ways for you to get your 3D Printed parts so your project will rock.
Find a High School STEM program!
This project is a great way to get those idle 3D Printers running and make something useful for AT Users in your community!
We’ve designed 3D Printed Switches that you can easily download and assemble. This guide will show you how! If you’re an AT User or part of an AT team (parent, SLP, ATP, etc.), bring this guide to your local STEM or Robotics team and they’ll know how to put it to good use.
Positioning switches is critical for folks with severe and profound physical challenges. Getting the AT Switch “just right” reduces fatigue, increases accuracy, and makes communication and environmental control much more successful.
[For those of you on the Maker side who don’t understand AT Switches, check out Max Lasko rockin’ on two switches to control the My Pal Scout we made for him.]
This project uses 3D Printed adapters to add a standard 1/4″-20 (pronounced “Quarter-Twenty”) camera mount to common AT Switches. This is a great project for STEM programs that have an idle 3D Printer and need service hours and is a huge improvement for AT Switch users.
In this guide, we will show how to use inexpensive Bluetooth Keyboards and related devices to make iOS Switch Control interfaces. This video shows you how to do it and the guide blow shows everything you want to know!
Continue reading iOS Switch Control on a Budget using Bluetooth Keyboards