Range finder as virtual keyboard

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millim
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Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by millim »

Dear community!
You may know that I have ported the Caprice Palm OS version to the Odroid Go to play CPC games on it. Now, roughly 1/4 of the available games are adventure games that require keyboard input. The available build in virtual keyboard can be used, but using it for an adventure game is not comfortable. Also a hardware keyboard attached to the OG serves that purpose but is not handy for a mobile usage.

So, I had same VL6180x break-out boards available building with that a dual range finder prototype used for navigation of a virtual keyboard. Please see the prototype attached to the OG:
Image
.. and the keyboard prototype in action:
Image

It is not finalized, but it serves as prove of concept. It basically imitates the character position of a 7x7 two dimensional matrix holding 49 characters, enough for the alphabet (a-z) and numbers(0-9) and some extra chars (! “ ?...). The row is selected with the left handed forefinger sliding along the left cover edge and the right handed forefinger sliding along the right cover edge defines the column location. When tipping to the cover, the character is pressed on the emu. It is really fast and one can easily achieve 1 to 2 characters per second. The VL6180x is fairly precise (about 2mm of error) and update speed is around 50Hz to 60Hz.

millim
These users thanked the author millim for the post (total 2):
odroid (Thu Mar 18, 2021 9:54 am) • L67GS (Fri Mar 19, 2021 11:14 am)

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by mad_ady »

Congratulation on winning the "Coolest hardware mod" of the year award! It's a really ingenious idea!

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by rooted »

Very nice, definitely thinking outside the box. Do you have a short video of it in action?

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by odroid »

Impressive!
I couldn't imagine that proximity sensors can work as a keyboard. :o

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by lordhardware »

Need to see a video.

This is really a fantastic way to do this.

@odroid this is CERTAINLY something I'd love to see on the Odroid Go 2 when it eventually happens ;)

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by L67GS »

So cool!
X2 on the video request!

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by crashoverride »

lordhardware wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 7:14 am
this is CERTAINLY something I'd love to see on the Odroid Go 2
I was thinking about this today, so thought I would post a note to my future self. :shock:

It may be worthwhile to consider a small touch-pad in the area below the D-PAD and A/B buttons. The speaker would have to be moved, but it certainly seems like a lower cost way to implement this type of functionality. It would have the added benefit of mouse emulation.

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by mad_ady »

Not sure if a touch pad would really be needed. A "nub" (or how you call that small rubbery joypad you sometimes find on older laptops between g and h keys) would be an acceptable solution. The oga has one joypad, while the ogs has two - if only they worked reliably as mice on all oses...
A touchpad would allow jumping the cursor around, which would be faster.

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by lordhardware »

mad_ady wrote:Not sure if a touch pad would really be needed. A "nub" (or how you call that small rubbery joypad you sometimes find on older laptops between g and h keys) would be an acceptable solution. The oga has one joypad, while the ogs has two - if only they worked reliably as mice on all oses...
A touchpad would allow jumping the cursor around, which would be faster.
Yeah one of those old notebook nubs would be great in the bottom centre.

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by millim »

crashoverride wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:06 pm
It may be worthwhile to consider a small touch-pad in the area below the D-PAD and A/B buttons.
Well, this was an idea I also had. Would have tried already with the OG. Unfortunately, I do not have an old PC available from where I could scratch the touch-pad for testing. I would place the touch-pad on the back side of the OG, there is massive space. With a visual feedback to the display. With that, even the fingers do not obstacle the view. One could navigate a full keyboard easily. For pressing the key, conventional A/B, or dual sensitive touch pad, one for tracking and one for pressing.

And for the OG V2 (if there is one coming out), I would suggest to replace (or add in addition) the D-PAD with a min Joystick, something like https://www.aliexpress.com/i/32974940991.html, maybe with some special knob design, low profile, so the OG, still fits in every pocket.

millim

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by millim »

L67GS wrote:
Fri Mar 19, 2021 11:15 am
So cool!
X2 on the video request!
.. unfortunately I do not have the right equipment to take a proper video, I am sorry.

BTW, have it finalized now, works as expected. Still need to get trained on the character location, which I have organized as: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency, letters with same probability of occurrence are placed in the same column. It's like playing a music instrument :D

I am playing now "The Curse of Rabenstein" https://8bitgames.itch.io/rabenstein to get my training hours :)

millim

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Re: Range finder as virtual keyboard

Post by ddrsoul »

This is soo great project!
Could you please share wiring diagram and fw?

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