Patrick Thomas developed the open source Sparkpad, a control surface that contains customizable keys and engraving options. It allows streamers to control multiple elements by pressing a button. Sparkpad is compatible with OBS Studio, Streamable OBS, Lioranboard via OBS, and video editing software.
The device uses a 12-key macropad called the RoMac. It also has regenerable keycaps that features icons from The Noun Project. These milky keys have clear vinyl stickers, making it easier to distinguish between each function. Sparkpad consists of two PCBs, twelve Cherry MX switches, 12 diodes, fasteners, and an Arduino Pro board loaded with QMK firmware, which has an online configurator. Thomas used the Configurator to map the RoMac’s keys to function keys F13 – F24. Hotkeys on the RoMac can trigger events, such as mute, unmute, scene transition, etc. in the OBS-compatible software.
Additionally, the Sparkpad’s PCB design includes an OLED screen, RGB LEDs, an LED bar graph, and an encoder. It also has support for an ESP32 along with the Arduino Pro microcontroller, allowing the development of future projects. The case, which was created via a laser cutter, had a few different design iterations. The initial prototype was comprised of an individual acrylic sheet with sides bent down. Then, the next prototype had flat acrylic sections that were slotted together using finger joints. Everything was glued internally, providing more support. The final design uses a different material on the top plate to simplify engraving. What's more, it has a matte black acrylic finish, giving Sparkpad a uniform appearance.
Overall, the Sparkpad brings a lot to the table, providing streamers with multiple functionalities to improve their streams. Thomas wants to see what others can come up with after playing around with the software.