Digital Finds

joseph dot reeves at thehumanjourney dot net

Onsite data entry: FreeRunner + USB keyboard

Jul 16, 2008 by Joseph Reeves

This keyboard is great; it's a roll-up rubber affair that can be used underwater and was designed for hazardous environments. We had a batch specially made for us by Hela with a USB mini-b connector for use on the FreeRunner without any adapters. I've just updated the instructions on the wiki, it's all much simpler than we were previously led to believe. We shall be releasing a "push button" application that switches between modes from the application menu. [Edit - Done].

The keyboard works much better than I was expecting, both mechanically and within the Openmoko environment. I've successfully used it draped over a rubbish covered desk and expect that it will work very well in the field. As far as software goes, it does a lot. Not only do all the keys do what you'd expect, but you can do simple, yet wonderful, things, such as use the up and down arrows to navigate through the installed software tab. Nothing, however, beats using the terminal with a real keyboard.

This keyboard will undergo site trials soon and will likely be made available as part of OA produced digital solutions based upon the Openmoko platform.


How does this affect battery life?

On the keyboard I am currently typing on is a sticker saying "type 16mA".

Posted by Jason Fox on July 16, 2008 at 12:51 PM BST #

Would you mind posting a picture of the keyboard rolled up tightly for transport?

Posted by Anonymous on July 16, 2008 at 02:47 PM BST #

I definitely want one. It would be nice if there was a female socket on the keyboard to allow the complete detachment of the cable.

Posted by Charles on July 17, 2008 at 08:59 AM BST #

I'm having trouble finding the specs for this. I have seen them before, but can't remember where. All I remember is that without the LED on, the current draw was very low. Around 10Ma perhaps?

I'll take a picture like that. Sorry, should have done it first time round.

We have a small number for sale, email me if you're interested. My address is joseph dot reeves at thehumanjourney dot net

Posted by Joseph Reeves on July 17, 2008 at 09:09 AM BST #

A rubber keyboard! It's beautiful. Looks like a James Bond gadget. And you can place it anywhere, no matter how old the ruins are!! ;)

Posted by Juan Lucas on July 17, 2008 at 07:08 PM BST #

[Trackback] Voilà un accessoire particulièrement bien adapté aux téléphones d'OpenMoko : En effet, le clavier "Duraflex Comfort" fabriqué par HELA est en caoutchouc souple, étanche et si fin qu'on peut le rouler au fond du sac !De plus, sa fiche est une

Posted by on July 29, 2008 at 03:06 PM BST #

Care to tell us how complicated it was to get the keyboard working? The page linked says that you'd need to build a three-headed USB cable to provide power to the Freerunner as well, but you obviously haven't. Can you just throw it into USB host mode, plug in the keyboard, and start typing?

Posted by Robert Bieber on August 01, 2008 at 12:33 AM BST #

Hi Robert, the instructions on the wiki for a three headed cable only apply if you want to provide external power to either the phone or the device. The FreeRunner puts out plenty enough juice for the keyboard, however, so the cable is not required.

Posted by Joseph on August 01, 2008 at 06:07 AM BST #

Is it possible to (temporarily or permanantly) remove the LEDs? This would reduce power consuption.

Posted by Pander on October 25, 2008 at 03:50 PM BST #

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