Remote Keyboard Keys Question? How to press specific keys while keyboard is locked in a cabinet?

I'm working on a children's museum grocery store exhibit where I'm using real grocery store check out scanners to "check out" fake groceries. I'm using an off the shelf program (converted by our local grocery wholesaler) and the children will be required to use a computer keyboard to operate the scanner, but only one or two buttons. The snag that I'm running into is that five-year-olds love to pry up the keys and pound on buttons. What I'd like to do is replace the keys with arcade-style micro switch buttons that could be mounted on the counter top while the actual keyboard remains in the locked cabinet below. But without programming experience or much electronics experience, I'm not sure how to go about it. Does anyone know of a simple and durable solution to remotely press keyboard keys?

Re-design5 years ago
Mount you keyboard inside a plywood box. Dowels with a spring on the end rest on the keys you want to use. on the outside of the box are the buttons that the kids press. The spring protects the keyboard. and you will need to create support and limit for the buttons.
There are some basically "Bomb proof" switches that cost the best part of 25 USD each that will work great here - wire them across the buttons you WANT to press. The buttons have NO moving parts to jam, glue, or pry up.
rickharris5 years ago
We have done this at school by putting LDR (light sensors) on the window that send a signal when they are covered (dark).

Alternatively you can use a capacitive sensor behind the glass


Glue small squares of foil to the outside of the window as touch pads.

www.Picaxe.com supports a touch switch command for this purpose.

You could physically wire the keys remotely to external buttons, or effect a mechanical link to the real keyboard inside. A long lever will reduce the pressure they can put on the keys.


+1 on the arcade buttons wired directly to the keyboard membrane. If in doubt, get a sacrificial usb keyboard because you can plug more than one in at once and windows will take input from both.