Hemisphere Keyboard

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This brass and glass USB keyboard supports 36 essential writing keys, and is perfect for writing stories. It is constructed using several different maker crafts; metal work, lampwork glass, electronics, wire wrapping and even a little bit of wood work. I used different tools from my workshop. A jeweler saw and bench, a lampwork torch, steel mandrels, ruler, tweezers, flex shaft, wire strippers, soldering iron. Materials are: Wooden doll head, 36 push buttons, 50+ feet of wire, hollow brass rods in several diameters, blue glass, fingernail glue, gorilla glue, Teensy board, electrical tape, heat shrink and stone clay.
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Step 1: Wire Wrap The Push Buttons

Using 22G insulated wire, cut 12 lengths of wire, each about 30cm long. Use wire strippers to remove about 10cm of insulation and use the wire strippers to slice six gaps in the insulation, each about 1.25 cm apart.

For my build, I did not use 1.25cm spacing throughout. I started with .75cm and went up to 2cm. This resulted in more uneven keys I think, so in the future I'll probably just use 1.25cm or 2cm consistently. 

Test your push buttons so you know which two leads are the same, and using the needle nose pliers, form two small wire loops a distance apart as wide as your push button leads, around 5 mm.

Straighten the push button legs, and place them through the holes then fold them out to hold the push button in place. Slide the insulation over (you may need to use some strength to do that) and form two more loops for the next push button. Attach six push buttons to the first six lengths of wire. 

Using the remaining six lengths of wire, once again cut slices in the insulation about 1.25 cm apart. Then carefully link the rows of buttons together. Flip the entire grid over, and carefully solder the backs of all the rows and columns in place. 
wolf11215 days ago

I would make it smaller and then make it a full circle and have it connect wirelessly to computers so you can work with one hand and have different keys different sizes so you know which key is which. Also the electronics would be inside it since it would be hollow.

skyberrys (author)  wolf11215 days ago

I am working on a new version now. It will definitely be wireless, fully spherical and hollow inside… exact dimensions I am not yet certain of.

At a recent maker hackathon I attended, one of the teams made this little communication device, that you can hold in one hand, called a touchstone.

JoLoveN1 month ago
Think it's a cool idea. Could help ppl keep from getting carpal tunnel. Maybe. If you could make it where you could hold it with both hands & learn where the keys are & just type without looking. Like learning on a keyboard. Practice practice practice. Lol. Have you gotta better at using it faster since you made it?
skyberrys (author)  JoLoveN15 days ago

Hi Jo! I managed to speed up enough that several of my letters fell off and I could still type by the touch of the buttons. Then I moved to California from NY and the poor sphere was in storage and I forgot how! I figured out the keys again and am developing a 3D printed model now.

btamagotchi2 months ago
Congratulations for the brilliant and astonishing project
What a brilliant idea!


With kind regards,

Horatius Steam
skyberrys (author)  Horatius.Steam3 months ago
Thank you!!
ryanjblajda8 months ago
love the idea, im just scratching my head at the idea of the practicality.
skyberrys (author)  ryanjblajda7 months ago
Quite impractical, but then so are high heels!
mitakskia8 months ago
Drinking game!
Everyone choose 5-10 different letters (depends on ppl). Throw the 'keysphere' on the table. If you didnt got any of the letters you've chosen - you drink.
skyberrys (author)  mitakskia7 months ago
Excellent game!!! I'll try it out sometime.
randomray7 months ago
Wow , what a great project . I hope some high tech firm has hired you cause you have great ideas .
skyberrys (author)  randomray7 months ago
I'm starting my own company, help it out, vote for my web app in the Booksmash Hackathon. :) I promise, the two (keyboard & web reader) are related...
-=Dr.Who=-9 months ago
You don't do fractions well, do you?

It's not 6\16, 4\16 or 2\16. It's 3\8, 1\4 and 1\8. A fraction always contains an odd integer. You always reduce to the lowest common denominator.

So, 6\16 are both Even numbers. What numbers do 6 and 16 share in common?
So, 6 divided by 2 = 3. and 16 divided by 2 = 8.
So, we get 3\8. A proper fraction.

With 4\16, it should be easy to see the number 4 is the answer.
4\4=1 and 16\4=4 So, it's 1\4.

Hope that helps because you can't buy 6\16 inch brass tubing. But you CAN buy 3\8in.
BTW, I'm loving the project! You're doing GREAT! And Really good work on building your own grid matrix! That's no simple task and you really have to use your brain and think it through.
Nice work!
Why yes you CAN buy 6/16th brass tubing... as a matter of fact, some stores will actually list BOTH fractions (even the non reduced) simply because converting between quarters, eighths, and sixteenths can be a pain in the butt on the fly when you are trying to get the OD of one fit the ID of another... if they have already been converted to the greatest common denominator one can easily add and subtract those fractions from one another.

Either way 3/8 = 6/16 = 12/32 = 24/64....
skyberrys (author)  Taranach9 months ago
Agree, it does get confusing.
K4nyix skyberrys8 months ago
Not even going into the whole metric vs. imperial... I guess you've figured the most practical of the two by yourself ^^
skyberrys (author)  K4nyix8 months ago
I would stick to metric, but I think the metric hollow tubing still had 1/16" thickness of the wall, it was slightly wobbly when I tried to telescope it.
K4nyix skyberrys8 months ago
I actually just watched a vid by numberphile (a youtube chain, very interesting) about this matter. Turns out, metric is not that practical at all in the end. I mean, sure it is. But it would be more practical to do everything in base 12, and in which case slight modifications to imperial would make it waaaay more efficient than metric. Only... Using the dodecagenal (or dozenal) system would require for everyone to completely change the way they think math... which is totally impossible. The French messed up when they chose to go full decimal as math was and adapt the measurement system to math instead of changing math to the dodecagenal system to adapt it to the measurement system...
Great keyboard! As much as I hate it...being english...go metric. It's less confusing and easier to work with.
For some uses, (like machine work) the fractions are all kept at one denominator. However, that's usually only done when the precision of the measurements is known, there the denominator actually represents how precise the measurement is. Knowing that a particular part is exactly five hundred thousandths of an inch (500/1000 or .500 in.) is very different than just saying its half an inch, because the former, unqualified, has, at the largest, a tolerance of ±.001", whereas "half an inch" could be anything, although a common value for such is ±¼".
skyberrys (author)  -=Dr.Who=-9 months ago
The first time I wrote the brass selection step my directions were to "Stand in the store and build telescopes out of brass tubes." Then I switched to a variable format( n = diameter of steel mandrels, d = spring diameter, r = outer diameter ) and finally decided to go with one sixteenths of an inch. I should probably add to choose either metric or english for the units, because I accidentally bought 3mm tubing once.
K4nyix8 months ago
Hi !
Very good idea and finest crafting, congrats !
As of criticism (there has to be some, hasn't there ?), I think you may be able to find a better key mapping for this to be practical ; maybe having more keys you could keep this uniformly spaced matrix as well as increasing ease of use by having less important keys in the back.
Here is something that might be of interest for v2.0 :
Good luck, and keep us posted if you get to this 2.0 ;)
skyberrys (author)  K4nyix8 months ago
The Key map for this is more a user preference I think. When I type I have almost an instinct to move my hands in various directions, not sure if other people have this as well. I did place less important keys along the outer perimeter. I'll probably redo the keymap for the second one though.

Engraving the keys would be possible, except my lampwork beads were not annealed in a kiln, so I'd probably not try that unless I anneal them first.
K4nyix skyberrys8 months ago
You obviously are way more knowledgeable than my humble self on the matter : I don't even know the meaning of annealing ;)

As of keymapping, it most definitely is a user preference. I was just throwing this one particular keymap in, just in case you didn't know of it and it could give you some ideas. I use the French version of it (named bépoè) from time to time and it really reduces finger strain when you really get used to it. Thus I thought "if you're already inventing a whole new and different keyboard type, why not take something out of the scientifically most efficient keymap ?"

I seriously hope you find the time and motivation to make another version of this amazing prop. And that it finds the right eyes and comes to the general public, I'm sure there's something to make out of this ! I'd sure buy one, would it end up on the market on a semi-industrial scale.
K4nyix K4nyix8 months ago
Oh and I almost forgot,
I do not know how complicated that would be, but were you to have the opportunity, engraving the key beads and filling/painting the engraving in brass/black would definitely complete the professional, steampunk-ish look of this design ! (now it of course isn't easy ; but if you got a dremell lying around, I think that's one of the most immediate and cost-free improvement possible :P )
Dr. dB9 months ago
Fascinating! Very reminiscent of certain portions of the old Type 40 control panels....
Although, as much of a challenge as typing with it seems to be, even for its inventor, I think it would be even MORE interesting as a musical-instrument keyboard or lighting controller....
skyberrys (author)  Dr. dB8 months ago
Thank you, it could be used for other things to, just need to reprogram.
that's a very interesting interface. in some ways it seems quite alien and would go well in a sci fi movie, i wonder if it could be helpful for generating random letter sequences by rolling it along?
Thank you, it would be a fun way to generate letter sequences. I should try it and report on how random it is. Some of the taller keys might be more popular.
BayRatt9 months ago
Just watched the video... very neat! Would you be able to mount it on a pedestal of some sort & perhaps be able to type with both hands? That would look pretty mystical, I think. Something like that might be good for people that are really spatial and tactile in their learning. Thanks for posting the video, and as someone else mentioned, you do look lovely. :-)
skyberrys (author)  BayRatt9 months ago
Thank you, I think I will mount this version. It's a bit late though b/c I would like to screw it into the base and with the electronics in place it is more difficult. I should have thought of it earlier.
Fast2119 months ago
Awesome idea! :) Would love to see a video of this in use.
skyberrys (author)  Fast2119 months ago
Thank you, the video is at
Fast211 skyberrys9 months ago
I reckon if you mount that on a small stand it would be ideal for kids to use as a fun alternative to a standard keyboard or maybe disabled people with fine motor control problems would find it easier than standard keyboard? how about creating a pyramid or cube version? It would also look really good with leds integrated into each stalk (maybe coming on briefly with each keypress?).

Ps. Your a beautiful woman. Sorry if that sounds a bit awkward and dodgy, i don't mean it to, I mean it as a genuine compliment. :)
lbrewer429 months ago
This reminds me of something you would see in the original Star Trek Series of the 60's... sort of as a concept of how they thought alien/future keyboards would work. Very different, retro-60s-sci-fi looking, artistic, and fantastic out-of-the-box thinking. Looking forward to the video.
skyberrys (author)  lbrewer429 months ago
Thank you, the video is here

I do read a lot of sci fi.
Thanks for the video - it would be fun to try this.
absolutekold9 months ago
1) yay minecraft

2) I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to add in LED's for each "key" so they light up when pressed. which would make typing on it very cool to watch. just use an acrylic rod instead of brass and either different color led's or do a randomizing pattern for the multicolored ones so each press is different.

Great job

skyberrys (author)  absolutekold9 months ago
I like the LED's in acrylic. Maybe I could use RBG LED's and each word is a different color pattern... I like all the ideas.

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