This is a fully functional computer keyboard built using LEGO parts. Details can be seen in the video, more info below.
I actually built the first prototype for this project all the way back in 2005! You can see a picture of that original prototype in the images below. I shelved the project for a number of reasons. Mostly because I was trying to build it onto the membrane of a Microsoft Natural keyboard, and working around the various angles of the keyboard was giving me a lot of trouble.
Last year I stumbled upon an old keyboard someone was getting rid of on the side of the road (nothing like doing a little free-cycling!). My interest was piqued again and after testing that the keyboard still worked I resurrected the project.
The biggest challenge was creating a frame that allowed the keys to be precisely spaced above the membrane. As I show in the video this was accomplished with a grid of Technic connectors and axles.
The second biggest challenge was finding appropriate printed tiles for all the symbols on a keyboard. Thankfully The LEGO Group has released all the main characters, numbers, and even a few special symbols over the years. I had to get creative with some of the keys though, which was actually quite fun. Still, there a few keys that could use some improvement.
Thankfully it is extremely easy to replace keys, so as I get inspired, or as The LEGO Group releases new printed tiles, I can easily upgrade the keys. It would also be quite easy to customize the layout, or add custom symbols to make a gaming specific layout.
The performance of the keyboard is quite good. There is a bit of flex in the Technic frame as you are using it, but this doesn’t seem to affect the performance at all. I can type just as well with this keyboard as with any other, as you can see during the introduction to the video.