Maltron has sold it's first programmable keyboard.

hoggy

10 Oct 2012, 20:56

Found this on their website. http://www.maltron.com

(Copied without permission)
New KW Bespoke Programmable Keyboard

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Following on from a previous post about bespoke keyboards, here is another special-order bespoke Maltron keyboard! This one, called a "KW", is a bit special however as this release is the first Maltron programmable keyboard.


Following on from the development of our previous bespoke keyboard (code-named "TJ"), we have just despatched a similar shaped keyboard but with four more keys and a proprietary programmable PCB. The "Teensy" USB controller is just that - small (just 18mm x 50mm) with a mini USB controller and a very small reset button. Despite its size, the Teensy can be programmed with virtually any keyboard layout. Visit maltron.com/keyboard-info.html for more details of some of the supported letter layouts.

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Our customer (who is from Germany) was in a hurry to receive his programmable keyboard so opted for the Teensy PCB solution rather than wait a little while for our own programmable designs - due out soon! For more information on bespoke designs, shapes, key types and functions, please contact Martin O'Donovan on +44 (0)845 2303265.

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Bigger pics available here
http://www.maltron.com/images/stories/teensy.jpg
http://www.maltron.com/images/stories/kw_topview.jpg
http://www.maltron.com/images/stories/kw_open.jpg

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fossala
Elite +1

10 Oct 2012, 21:01

Just got my first maltron yesterday, not sure if I hate it or love it. I love the layout but damn cherry switches.

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suka
frobiac

11 Oct 2012, 10:28

Interesting find! The layout is intriguing, but still not split and therefore unnecessarily constrained, imo. And I do not want to know about the price of that design. Wonder about the programmability though - also available for the teensy already, or only in theit final designs?
hoggy wrote:... in a hurry to receive his programmable keyboard so opted for the Teensy PCB solution rather than wait a little while for our own programmable designs - due out soon!
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Wow - compared to that wiring I guess my "prototype" should be industrial build quality already :D

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bhtooefr

11 Oct 2012, 13:15

Given the volumes that I'm assuming Maltron moves, I wouldn't be surprised if their production is all basically at a "standardized prototype" level.

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Matias

13 Oct 2012, 00:05

Cray used to build supercomputers this way too. Perhaps they still do.

ksweber

09 Nov 2012, 22:16

I just get comfortable with one of these Maltron KW and I would like to share my impressions and feelings about the device...

When it arrived it took me 4 days to get it running. This means getting the teensy from morse beep, the default application, to a customized keyboard firmware. Thanks to suka (see above) I only had to configure his version of teensy firmware, which already covered a design with 6 columns per side, a genius solution for reusing thumb keys as modifier keys and normal keys, 4 different layers, a software bootloader trigger, a command mode, a macro feature etc.

I must admit, that I prepared myself for this day by setting up a tool chain on my mac book beginning from the 'AVR-gcc' for cross-compiling the sources, 'teensy_loader_cli' for uploading the compiler output to the keyboard to finally 'hid_listen' in order to have insight to the debug messages.

When unpacking the keyboard I was surprised about its lightness, only 600 gramms! Putting first time my hands in the Maltron bowls felt very naturally. The cherry browns were a little loud when bottomed out and scratchy while pushed down (compared to my mac book keys). Therefore I added black o-rings to the keys, and now I get used to the scratchyness and the keys stopped to rattle when bottomed out. I do not feel constrained by the form (as suka assumed), because it matches perfectly my body.

As a contribution to Lilian Malt I first put a version of her malt keyboard layout into the Maltron KW. This will not be the end, since I favour also the world of AdNW (http://www.adnw.de) keyboard layouts optimized for english AND german language.
Attachments
MaltronKW_pimped_transp.png
MaltronKW_pimped_transp.png (711.09 KiB) Viewed 2363 times
Malt90AtMaltronKW.png
Malt90AtMaltronKW.png (519.58 KiB) Viewed 4744 times
Last edited by ksweber on 18 May 2014, 08:26, edited 7 times in total.

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fossala
Elite +1

09 Nov 2012, 22:20

May I ask if it is a disability that makes you want a keyboard like that? It just seems very tight with your elbows sticking out.

ksweber

10 Nov 2012, 08:49

I want to stay healthy, thats my motivation.When I first tried to move from 2 finger typing to 10 fingers, I realized that I was thereby forcing my hands in an uncomfortable angle and spin. The Maltron is a little bit tented to the middle, has a matrix key layout, a reversed V-shape and cares about different length of fingers, which all helps feeling much more comfortable as on a standard keyboard.

The layout is not too tight and my arms are hanging neutrally down when I position my hands on the keys. I think this is a combination of the V-angle and the distance between the two sides. No elbows sticking out.
Last edited by ksweber on 10 Nov 2012, 20:22, edited 2 times in total.

ksweber

10 Nov 2012, 13:15

First job in configuring the firmware was to adapt the circuit layout the Maltron KW had. For documentation reasons I attach the schema:
Attachments
MaltronKW_CircuitLayoutTopView.png
Circuits without diodes!
MaltronKW_CircuitLayoutTopView.png (601.72 KiB) Viewed 5003 times
Last edited by ksweber on 10 Nov 2012, 23:16, edited 2 times in total.

ksweber

10 Nov 2012, 13:21

The next configuration duty was to add the prefered keyboard layouts. Beside Malt, I added british QWERTY, german QWERTZ and last but not least my favorite AdNW-Variant:
my_KO.,Y_Layout.png
The KO.,Y layout: mixture of the layers 3&4 of Neo2 and a AdNW-Variant
my_KO.,Y_Layout.png (613.69 KiB) Viewed 4999 times
Last edited by ksweber on 10 Nov 2012, 19:30, edited 1 time in total.

ksweber

10 Nov 2012, 13:32

What I had to learn about configuration limits of keyboard firmware is, that some characters are not scan-code-able. For instance the liter literal ℓ (Shift+3) and also the 3 dead keys of Neo2 (see corners of the KO.,Y layout) were not configurable. These have to be remapped from one character to another by an operating system driver.
Last edited by ksweber on 24 Nov 2012, 13:37, edited 1 time in total.

ksweber

24 Nov 2012, 13:33

Probably you are interested how the standard keyboard layouts for british QWERTY and german QWERTZ could match to the Maltron KW:
Attachments
QWERTYForMaltronKW.png
QWERTYForMaltronKW.png (533.35 KiB) Viewed 4747 times
QWERTZForMaltronKW.png
QWERTZForMaltronKW.png (528.05 KiB) Viewed 4747 times

ksweber

01 Dec 2012, 22:06

Now I have finished my customization of the Maltron KW and I am very satisfied. Currently improving my capabilities in using the KO.,Y keyboard layout.

If anybody would like to order the Maltron KW with teensy controller too, I can provide him with an already build firmware file, one can upload easily to the teensy by this loader application, so you do not have to install the complete tool chain to build the software. Please (register) and send me a private email in this case.

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fossala
Elite +1

02 Dec 2012, 12:32

ksweber wrote:Now I have finished my customization of the Maltron KW and I am very satisfied. Currently improving my capabilities in using the KO.,Y keyboard layout.

If anybody would like to order the Maltron KW with teensy controller too, I can provide him with an already build firmware file, one can upload easily to the teensy by this loader application, so you do not have to install the complete tool chain to build the software. Please (register) and send me a private email in this case.
I'm not intrested but you should also provide the source so we can make modifcations to the layout to suit our needs. Thank you for making the firmware files already avaliable.

ksweber

03 Dec 2012, 21:32

I am not sure I know how to execute your request, fossala. As I said above I configured suka's software which you can find published here. The changes needed were small. Look for example at this file line 83 where the keyboard layout is defined in a matrix way very equal to the physical layout. For the Maltron KW I had to add some lines, because it has 8 rows and not 4 as sukas device. In line 62 you can define the second usage definitions of some modifier keys. Here I placed the double usage of the thumb keys of the Maltron KW, as you can see above (red). For instance the right thumb key is defined for CTRL in KeyMatrix[][][] and SecondaryUsage[][] defines at the same position the RETURN key. If one does not change sukas layout, a key press on the F2 key produces the letter 'k'.

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sordna

07 Feb 2013, 02:16

Interstingly, I can see that Maltron used switches with integrated diodes in this keyboard, however they are not utilized! I see the leads but they are not soldered anywhere...
Spoiler:
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ksweber

07 Feb 2013, 06:04

Yes, you are right. Between the 2 unused pins of the switches one can see a diode sign on the plastic. Apparently something went wrong here...

ksweber

18 Apr 2014, 22:50

I have put the source for the Maltron KW's Teensy firmware to Github: https://github.com/weberk/adnw/tree/maltron

Enjoy!

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