The Comfortable, Custom PicoSplit Packs Two Raspberry Pi Picos and a CircuitPython Firmware

Designed to keep your hands relaxed during typing, this custom keyboard includes clever magnetic snap-on capabilities.

Developer and self-described "tinkerer" Andreas Känner was displeased with commercial keyboards on the market, so set about building his own — in a split ergonomic design powered by a matched pair of Raspberry Pi Picos and CircuitPython.

"Have you ever thought about how many hours a day you spend in front of the computer with the keyboard? I'm a software developer and for me it's certainly more than eight hours, because the keyboard is my most important input tool," Känner explains. "I can't write software without it. Even though that's the case, for years — decades, actually — I typed with just a few fingers. I kept glancing back and forth between the keyboard and the screen."

The solution: PicoSplit, a custom-designed split ergonomic keyboard based on a modification to the QWERTY variant of the Miryoku layout from Manna Harbour. Inspired in shape by the Dactyl keyboard from Matt Adereth, the PicoSplit is powered by a pair of Raspberry Pi Picos with a CircuitPython-based firmware loaded onto their RP2040 microcontroller.

The keyboard's housing is 3D-printed, while magnets provide quick connection for interchangeable wrist-rest accessories. The distance between the keyboard and rests is adjustable, as is the distance between the keyboard's two halves — which snap together for ease of transportation.

"The PicoSplit firmware certainly has fewer features than some other firmware," Känner admits, "but it comes with everything for configuration. You don't need to install additional software on your computer. A simple text editor and a web browser is all you need.

Full details on the project, including building instructions and 3D print files, are available on Känner's website; the firmware source code is published to GitHub under the permissive MIT license.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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