Monday, December 12, 2022

YASK - Yet Another Steno Keyboard, a cool open source DIY option

YASK - Yet Another Steno Keyboard, developed by Thomas, is a nice new simple option for people who enjoy assembling their new boards.

Thomas writes:
It's relatively easy to assemble if you have basic soldering skills and a hot glue gun.

I like it better than the other DIY or "low-cost" options I found, because:
* The two hands are spaced apart somewhat, but it's still a mono-bloc design (it can rest on your lap). The "number" and "*" keys are duplicated, for comfort.
* It uses 2U keys (a single, long key for two positions), to avoid unnecessary gaps. They still hold well and remain smooth despite the overhang.
* It connects over Gemini PR protocole. No interference with your existing keyboard, even if you have Dvorak re-mapping and funny input methods.
* It's cheap, if you can build it yourself (especially if, like me, you're going to need 2 or 3 for your home and office)

What I don't like about it (look out for a Version 2!):
* It's not wireless. Silly me! Where did I have my head!
* It doesn't have any fancy features like recording your strokes into a memory bank when you're off-line, and then re-playing them when connected.

You'll need:
* The PCB, which you can order at any PCB shop.
* 28 mechanical key switches. I've used Gateron KS-9 RGB switches, but most brands should fit. White stem (35g), the force is just right, even when pressing multiple keys together.
* the same number of key caps. I suggest XDA keys (but any should fit), they feel good when pressing 2 keys with the same finger. I bought mine here: They're good and they have 2U keys, but you might need help from a Chinese friend.
* a RP2040 microcontroller board. They're the star of the year (2022), so you won't have trouble finding one.
* Some 2.54mm header pins
* a USB cable.

Software you'll need:
* the Micropython image for the RP2040
* Thonny
* and

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