Engineers Buddy USB keyboard and mouse emulator module.
This handy little device, with it's blue-tooth connection, turns your Android phone/tablet into a wireless remote control for any computer. It gives your Android device control over all HID compliant devices* even before the OS loads at boot level. Two apps, the Engineers Buddy kbd/mouse/macro recorder and the Commander macro player, make this a powerful tool with a multitude of uses.
In conjunction with the Engineers Buddy app this is a great tool for systems engineers. No more carrying a USB keyboard on site for work with kiosk systems, tills etc. The OEM board and shuttle pouch build is just 10cm long and under 1.7oz (45g). It clips on to your keyring, belt loop, or just tucks neatly into a pocket. It is also the best way to produce macros for the Commander app.
Potential uses with the Commander macro player app:-
Security. Every security camera(or bystander), wherever you are typing on a keyboard, is a potential key logger. Type recorded secure information, such as passwords, with the press of a single button on your smart phone or tablet.
Medical. Considerable potential for people providing services and assistance to the handicapped or disabled, giving them access to complicated keyboard driven procedures, such as entering their user name and password and then invoking an application function, all with the press of a single button.
Commercial. Great for repetitive tasks, such as configuring systems for roll out or rebuilding in the field with minimal staff training.
Administrative. Permanently install the Engineers Buddy hardware on a system with no keyboard or mouse. Staff or visitors can connect, using the Commander app, to run tailored macros, providing restricted/automated functionality according to user status/department.
For a better insight, check out the instructions on how to use both apps using the following links.
The Engineers Buddy kbd/mouse/macro recorder :-
The Commander macro player app :-
Use the following links to download the apps. They will only work if you have the Engineers Buddy bluetooth module. However, the Commander app is free, if you wish to experiment with it.
The Engineers Buddy kbd/mouse/macro recorder :-
The Commander macro player app :-
* Will work with PC, MAC, Linux, some games consoles and Android devices (dependant upon power to the USB port) .
Step 1: Decide How to Build Your Engineers Buddy
There are several ways in which you may construct this device, based upon board types and encapsulation. The recommended method for general field use is the Engineers Buddy OEM board and reinforced USB stick shuttle pouch. This is based on the Teensy2 micro-controller and SPP-C BTM (Blue-Tooth Module). Alternative methods include Teensy2++, HC-06 BTM, and the use of LED lighting profile as the housing.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
For all builds:-
The Arduino IDE installed on your PC. It is available for a variety of OS's here https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software .
After installing the Arduino IDE you will also need to install the Teensyduino IDE, available here https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_download.html .
For all board work a soldering iron and some link wire will be required.
All builds will require a USB cable, 20cm long overall is the optimum length if using the shuttle pouch. The Teensy boards usually come with a suitable length USB A to Mini B cable.
Required parts for the Engineers Buddy OEM board:-
1 micro-controller. Teensy2 . (The Teensy2++ is too long for use with the Shuttle pouch).
1 BTM. SPP_C or HC-06.
1 Double-Side Prototype FR-4 PCB Circuit Board 8 Size (30x70mm)
A small piece of insulating tape.
Required parts for the Engineers Buddy reinforced shuttle pouch:-
1 Dual USB shuttle carry bag available online.
163 x 38mm x (approx)0.5mm semi rigid plastic sheet. Ideally transparent, translucent or diffusing, some degree of opacity is desirable to view the power and connection LEDs. The material shown is Pacur Lenstar 60lpi lenticular sheet.
Required parts for the Engineers Buddy pocket stick:-
1 micro-controller. Teensy2 or Teensy2++ .
1 BTM. SPP_C or HC-06.
A suitable length of 23x10mm LED profile with end caps, preferably blank but not essential.
A length of insulating tape, tough enough to resist penetration by the soldered pins, or thin sheet plastic, to insulate the bottom of the aluminium profile.
Step 2: Construct Your Chosen Build.
EngineersBuddy OEM board.
! Note for advanced users. When connecting to the Engineers Buddy the BTM will appear on on your blue tooth device list as either HC-06 or BT04-A(SPP-C). It is possible to change this device name but should be done before proceeding, you will need to connect the BTM to a USB UART and use the Arduino IDE serial monitor function. !
Preparation:- Remove the pins from the BTM, which are invariably already fitted, leaving usable holes for re-soldering. The technique shown in illustration(1) involves cutting the pins below the bend, enabling removal of the plastic moulding they are mounted in. The pins can then be removed individually and a de-soldering tool used to clear the holes. If you don't have a de-soldering tool, stranded/braided wire can be used as a sponge.
You will also need to insulate the exposed conductive areas on the back of the micro-controller board, using a small piece of insulating tape, covering the outlined shaded area shown in illustration(2).
Assembly:- The FR-4 PCB Circuit Board is used as a backplane on which to mount the micro-processor and BTM. The link wires secure the boards to the backplane.
! All following co-ordinates relate to the markings on the backplane before it is inverted as shown in illustration(3 ) !
With the backplane supported at least 10mm above the bench top, pre-form and insert a link wire between M/04 and O/04 and another between M/05 and O/05, also between M/07 and Q/02, then another between M/06 and R/02. The stripped ends should protrude at least 5mm through the other side of the board, illustration(4). Solder all these link wires into place as shown in illustration(3).
Invert the backplane and lay it on the bench with the stripped ends of the link wires protruding upwards, ensuring they are straight and perpendicular to the backplane. The finished module should appear as shown in illustration(5). Locate the processor board onto the protruding link wires so that the power connections, VCC and GND align with the backplane connections O/04 and O/05 respectively , as identified on what is now the underside of the backplane. The other two wires, by default, should locate into the TX/RX pinouts on the processor board. Similarly locate the BTM onto the 4, in line, wire ends so that the VCC and GND connections align with the backplane connections M/04 and M/05 respectively. This will link the processor VCC to the BTM VCC and the processor GND to the BTM GND. The other link wires will now, by default, be located correctly. These will link the processor RXD(D2) to the BTM TXD and the processor TXD(D3) to the BTM RXD. With the assembly face up and the boards pressed flat against the backplane, solder all 8 populated holes. Drop 3 short bits of bare wire through the F1, R1 and B5 connections of the processor board so they rest on the bench and protruding above the processor enough to be soldered. Solder these connections on the upper side. They are fixings and purely structural. Trim all the protruding wires. Invert the module, ensuring the backplane is pressed firmly down on the processor and BTM boards, solder the other side of these pins.
The use of the backplane produces a robust module with scope for additional components and wiring for the developer, so the fixing pins in connections F1, R1 and B5 should used/located according to preference.
EngineersBuddy reinforced shuttle pouch.
Preparation:- Cut the semi rigid plastic reinforcing sheet to size, 163mm x 38mm, then fold so it becomes 81.5mm x 38mm as shown in illustration(6). Round off the corners at the fold.
Assembly:- Hold the folded end of the reinforcer so that it curves and becomes narrower than the pouch entrance and slide it, folded end first, into the side of the pouch with the manufacturers logo on the outside.
To insert the OEM board, squeeze the sides of the reinforced pouch at the entrance so they curve away from each other and slip the board between them, with the BTM going in first and the USB socket uppermost, illustration(7).
The USB cable should be stored in the other pouch with the plugs going in first to reduce stress on the plastic and ease removal, illustration(8).
EngineersBuddy pocket stick.
Preparation:- Calculate the length of profile required by adding the length of the processor to that of the BTM and the distance to the shoulder of the USB Mini B plug when inserted into the Teensy, see illustration (11). Cut the profile and cover together, then insulate the base of the inside of the profile with tape or thin plastic sheet. It should be tough enough to ensure the bottom of the soldered wires cannot penetrate it. Drill a suitable sized hole for the rounded section of the Mini B plug in one of the end caps, then split the bottom edge in the centre , see LED profile image in step(1).
Bend the pins on the BTM as shown in illustration(9).
Assembly:- Solder the bent pins into the Teensy board so as to link both boards' VCC and GND connections together, illustration(10), a Teensy2++ with an HC-06 BTM. This is a crude but effective way of mechanically and electrically connecting the boards together. Use link wires to connect the Teensy TX to the BTM RX and the Teensy RX to the BTM TX.
Twist the bottom of the drilled end cap, so as to open the slit at the bottom, to accommodate the USB cable. Then pull the circular section of the plug into the hole. Plug the USB cable into the processor and fit the end cap, complete with both boards, into the profile. Fit the other end cap. Glueing the end caps in is probably prudent. Securing the boards into the bottom of the profile with a sticky pad or two is optional rather than essential. Fit the profile cover.
Step 3: Program Your Engineers Buddy
To program the Teensy access to the loader button on the board will be required.
The image above shows the compiler with the Tools menu and board selection dropped down and the Teensy loader module in the top right hand corner. The top 14 lines of the sketch in the editor are partially shown in the background.
Run the IDE. Start a new project, choose any name you want. In the editor screen delete anything below the project name. Download the sketch file below, 'TeensySketch.txt'. Open with a basic text viewer such as notepad, word processors use hidden formatting which the compiler will not understand. The content of the file should be cut and pasted into the IDE editor. First, use the tools menu to select the correct board type, Teensy 2 or Teensy2++. Ensure that the USB type is set to 'Keyboard+Mouse+Joystick' as in the illustration. UK/US keyboard layout is controlled from the app, so keyboard layout in the compiler must be set to 'United Kingdom' for this to work. With the Teensy connected to your computer, click on the arrow immediately beneath 'Edit' in the illustration. This will compile the sketch and may automatically upload it. If this does not happen automatically then press the button on the Teensy board or click 'Auto' in the Teensy loader module. When the compiler reports 'Done uploading' the process is complete.