The Writer Platform

A Writer Platform: A defined piece of hardware with some basic software. Main function is the inputting of text as an alternative to the QWERTY keyboard. It would be:

  • Software would be Open source and designs for hardware would be published with permission to use
  • An alternative to the keyboard for any alphabet and so would have global appeal.
  • Key-switch positions and layout tailored to individual users
  • Based on the Raspberry pi for example the £10 W 0 version which has usb, wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The idea is that anyone with the necessary skills could assemble a kit of off-the-shelf parts, download some open-source software and have a device that performs all the functions of a keyboard.

This basic kit would be open source, meaning that anybody can sell assembled writers tailored to individual buyers.

There would be a market for software that runs on this platform, a market that is enhanced by the ubiquity that open-source brings to the platform. Note that the Raspberry pi has a video output, so that a writer could be connected to a monitor and be a complete computer that can be a self-contained word processor or run games.

For myself, I have had an interest in this project for some time, but I have no commercial interest at all. I really want to be sure that I have a secure availability of a reliable Writer using high quality keys and preferably not dependent on a very inelegant use of the Cy-Key electronics. Otherwise I am interested in improved key arrangements for my personal use.

I am publishing my designs for hardware on this site and declare that anyone is free to use any of them at their own risk.

There are some ideas I want to explore require a programmable alternative to the Cy-Key electronics. I am not sure that I am sufficiently able or motivated to tackle the necessary programming.

I also have ideas for a Compact Writer. This would be a pocket sized unit on the lines of the space model shown below:

Compact Keypad 1 Space Model Top
Compact Keypad 1 Space Model Top
Compact Keypad 1 Space Model Back
Compact Keypad 1 Space Model Back

In particular I like the idea of coupling the key mechanism to a piezoelectric generator and running the device with harvested energy, doing away with total dependence on batteries. So for example an author would be able to write text anywhere, perhaps with an e-ink display, but do functions requiring more power when connected to another device via usb.