May 8th, 2021—
Although mechanical keyboards are more popular than ever in gaming communities, getting that perfect “click” when you press down on the key is still being chased. That’s why maker Jason Ron wanted to convert an old typewriter into the perfect gaming controller. It works by using some tape wrapped around several of the typebars that either reflects more light when held up or none when it’s lowered. A pair of IR emitters and receivers were used to detect these changes in light levels, where their values were then read by an Arduino Leonardo.
The code Ron wrote takes advantage of the Leonardo’s native USB peripheral, letting it act as a keyboard for a host device. When the light level falls between certain predetermined values a key is pressed virtually and then sent to the computer, although this functionality can be toggled on or off to prevent unwanted keypresses.
If you want to see more about how this project was built along with some footage of Ron playing Red Dead Redemption 2, be sure to check out the video below and associated write-up on his blog.