Peter "Bobricius" Misenko's I2C Keyboard Adds Physical Inputs to the Wio Terminal, M5Stack, and More

Featuring mounting points for four popular all-in-one development boards, this keyboard design offers an ortholinear QWERTY layout.

Gareth Halfacree
18 days agoHW101

Maker Peter "Bobricius" Misenko has unveiled another new circuit board design, this time a PCB sandwich designed to add a physical QWERTY keyboard to a Seeed Studio Wio Terminal — without taking up too much room in the process.

"I have plan to port Armachat to [other] ready made devices on market," Misenko explains, referring to his secure-communication project, "so I [have been] working on design[ing a] universal MCP23017-based I2C keyboard."

The design, Misenko explains, is specifically tailored for use with the Seeed Studio Wio Terminal, an all-in-one gadget with display and joystick powered by a Microchip ATSAMD51P19 system-on-chip with Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller. The Wio Terminal sits on a carrier PCB which hosts physical switches in an ortholinear QWERTY layout, with an upper PCB layer serving to hide the switch bodies and provide markings for ease of use.

While it may be designed for the Wio Terminal, Misenko's new keyboard has broader compatibility. Powered by a Microchip MCP23017, the keyboard PCB includes a Grove connector — making it compatible with anything that can talk I2C. The main PCB even includes mounting points for the rival M5Stack all-in-one microcontroller and display gadget, Pimoroni's Badger 2040, and the TTGO T-Echo LoRa-compatible development board from LILYGO, which includes a sunlight-readable ePaper display, in addition to its Wio Terminal mounts.

The keyboard's physical switches are a return to form for Misenko, who has most recently been investigating the use of non-tactile capacitive inputs — initially in the PicoTouch and WiziTouch, both powered by a Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, and then in the revised Armachat & PICOmputer Touch. Where earlier switch-based devices like the Raspberry Pi PICOmputer were all-in-one systems with integrated displays, though, Misenko's new keyboard requires an external device compatible with I2C.

More information on the project is available on Misenko's Hackaday.io page.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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