Best project or innovation

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webwit
Wild Duck

06 Dec 2017, 20:28

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Winner:
The official nominees in the Best project or innovation category were:

  • Click bar on Kailh Box switches
  • XMIT and his MX compatible hall effect boards having success on Massdrop with R2
  • emdude's Xwhatsit/CS-Compatible IBM 3277 PCB
  • DMA's "CommonSense" Capacitative keyboards controllers
  • PlastikSchnittstelle's SKBXX solid bent alu case made in Germany

The Wingnut, as voted for by the keyboard community, goes to...
Spoiler:
Click bar on Kailh Box switches
Everybody loves crisp and clicky feedback, but let's be honest: modern clicky switches are a let down. Kailh recently engineered a new switch based on a "Click bar", a small metal wire inside the casing that actually emits the characteristic sound. They applied the same concept to multiple switches, including the Box switch that --other than the clicky sound-- adds spill-safe and dust-proof to its features list.

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Kailh clicky box switches.
Runners-up:
Spoiler:
2nd place: XMIT and his MX compatible hall effect boards having success on Massdrop with R2
XMIT will be remembered as the guy who revived the hall effect switch. He found a manufacturer in China and worked with them to create a modern and highly desirable switch mounted on beautifully crafted keyboards. They switches are not only hall effect, but also MX compatible, spillsafe and backlight compatible. The project was deemed to success and indeed this year Massdrop is running the second round of XMIT's hall effect keyboards.

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XMIT's 60% modern hall effect keyboard

3rd place: DMA's "CommonSense" Capacitative keyboards controllers
Converters and alternative controllers have always existed but they are getting more and more sophisticated. Everything probably started with Soarer's converter, then xwhatsit worked on a beam springs USB capsense controllers and finally DMA perfected the design and brought the CommonSense to the masses. It's an open-source project that provides everything you need to drive any Model F or beam spring.

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Prototype of CommonSense PCB.
Honorable mentions:
Spoiler:
emdude's Xwhatsit/CS-Compatible IBM 3277 PCB
The DIY scene has been incredibly active this year. Many projects were dedicated to reviving vintage keyboards; of all emdude's stood out for recreating the PCB of the IBM 3277 with an edge connector so it could accept slip-on Xwhatsit and CommonSense controllers.

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emdude's full size IBM 3277 PCB.

PlastikSchnittstelle's SKBXX solid bent alu case made in Germany
It is relatively easy to find various custom keyboard components nowadays. Controller, PCB, switches, diodes, LEDs can all be sourced somehow; what is really hard to find is a high quality case for our DIY projects. PlastikSchnittstelle comes to the rescue with a bent aluminum, height adjustable case 100% made in Germany.

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One of the many options available

Buggot

06 Dec 2017, 20:31

Heyyyy, Kailh Box Switches! Congratulations to the winner!

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hansichen

06 Dec 2017, 22:06

Xmit on place two, such a bullshit. Round 1 was a major failure and round two is just announced. That's a joke.

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scottc

06 Dec 2017, 22:12

Disappointed that CommonSense and Emdude's 3277 PCB didn't do better. I feel like they were the clear winners here.

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mecano

06 Dec 2017, 22:50

Scottc, I guess Kailh is targeting more people, so it dragged more votes.

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jkaos92

06 Dec 2017, 22:51

mecano wrote: Scottc, I guess Kailh is targeting more people, so it dragged more votes.

This

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Laser
emacs -nw

06 Dec 2017, 23:36

hansichen wrote: Xmit on place two, such a bullshit. Round 1 was a major failure and round two is just announced. That's a joke.
I think you're way too harsh. First, XMIT had to rely on a different, Chinese company *and* Massdrop to push this through (if I get it right) - so if you are criticizing them, it's not quite the same thing as criticizing the person - and 2nd, an innovative idea is an innovative idea; it may take 10 rounds to be perfect, but the product exists, and it's moving forward. A cool idea can get votes, the effort of a person can get votes, even if the result doesn't live up to expectations. IMO XMIT needs encouragements , funds maybe, not to be mocked at.

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7bit

07 Dec 2017, 10:28

Congratulations!
:ugeek:

Some day I must get hands on these switches ...
:-)

andrewjoy

07 Dec 2017, 11:00

I think its good that the box switch won, it will show switch makers ( and hopefully cherry) that we want a good click switch and not the MX blue and green etc crap they have now :).

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cookie

07 Dec 2017, 11:43

Ouh, this one is a bummer. Yes Kailh showed some innovation but a tiny metal spring inside a fake ass cherry housing is no comparison to the effort and dedication the other nominees put into their stuff.

andrewjoy

07 Dec 2017, 12:04

On a personal level for the individual yes i agree.

But if it sends a message to the big hitters like cherry " hey you we want a good clicky switch" then i am ok with it.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

10 Dec 2017, 19:32

Laser wrote:
hansichen wrote: Xmit on place two, such a bullshit. Round 1 was a major failure and round two is just announced. That's a joke.
I think you're way too harsh. First, XMIT had to rely on a different, Chinese company *and* Massdrop to push this through (if I get it right) - so if you are criticizing them, it's not quite the same thing as criticizing the person - and 2nd, an innovative idea is an innovative idea; it may take 10 rounds to be perfect, but the product exists, and it's moving forward. A cool idea can get votes, the effort of a person can get votes, even if the result doesn't live up to expectations. IMO XMIT needs encouragements , funds maybe, not to be mocked at.
I'll leave it to the community to decide how to judge my efforts. Sufficient to say I'd like to do more in house on my own but a number of personal circumstances have colluded to make this much more difficult than say even six months ago. No one is more acutely aware of all the strengths and weaknesses of my efforts than me.

Objectively I'm not certain I can agree that "Round 1 was a major failure". The sales numbers tell a different story. The return and failure rate are, I hate to say it, not all that far off of other efforts by small manufacturers without more direct supervision. Again, the community can decide in the long term how it values these boards by setting their resale value. I regret nothing about these boards and efforts even if there are many lessons for next time.

Working with an external factory and an external reseller there are limits to what I'm able to do. No amount of 2am calls to China or visits to the reseller's office can address those fundamental limits.

I've got some great idea for 2018 and 2019 - now to find the time and the right partners to bring them to life...

Thank you again to all who nominated and voted for me in this year's DTA awards, and who continue to believe in my work despite some growing pains. This is the reason my "keyboard truck" proudly wears a DT logo. :ugeek:

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

10 Dec 2017, 19:37

Laser wrote: IMO XMIT needs encouragements , funds maybe, not to be mocked at.
What I really need is an intern, or a strong collaboration with a company that has more manufacturing and resale chops. The current arrangement conveniently protects everyone's separate interests but isn't really set up for product quality. Not that I'm not grateful for the current arrangement - I am! - but there are lots of things to fix.

Encouragement is always helpful, I can't turn it down.

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Laser
emacs -nw

11 Dec 2017, 16:13

XMIT wrote:
Laser wrote: IMO XMIT needs encouragements , funds maybe, not to be mocked at.
What I really need is an intern, or a strong collaboration with a company that has more manufacturing and resale chops. The current arrangement conveniently protects everyone's separate interests but isn't really set up for product quality. Not that I'm not grateful for the current arrangement - I am! - but there are lots of things to fix.

Encouragement is always helpful, I can't turn it down.
Well good luck! (since I can't offer more - maybe support through buying one of these keyboards in a future round)
My previous answer can be taken as what it was, an uninformed external opinion, but that previous post needed a reply.

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mecano

13 Dec 2017, 00:10

Hope to be able to get some hall effect switches in a not too far future for a custom build ;)

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