So, this is basically a catch-all for anything you've ever wished was different about a calculator keypad, from button layouts to orientation to size, anything all.

A few of mine: You can, of course, disagree entirely. Razz

-A Layout oriented for majority of use higher up. Constantly reaching down for the numbers is less than ideal.
-I'm personally a fan of fairly wide button layouts, but not so wide you can't reach to midway for each thumb. For me, this equates to about 6-7 buttons wide with 83+ key sizes.
-I really, really like the nspire clickpad's alpha keys. Small enough to be intentionally avoided easily, but high enough that you can hit them without hitting other buttons. Then they removed that feature in their later models Sad
First, the program break key should either be a freaking second/auxillary function, or at least there should be confirmation before stopping a program! I am so sick to death of that key somehow pressing itself every day.

I rather like the way the HP calcs allow entering both numbers and letters in alpha mode. The lower half of the keyboard isn't assigned to alpha functions, so all digits and . + - * are available without having to turn off alpha lock. I wish the other calcs were like that.

The best thing, I think, is a configurable keyboard. The HP calcs are very configurable, so if there are functions or symbol I wish I had direct access to, I can make it a reality.

The separate alpha keys of the early Nspires is interesting. I've never actually used such a layout, but it sounds like it could be nice once you get used to it.
The nicest part is the way they raised the height of the small keys. Unless you have freakishly wide fingers (I have pretty big hands myself, but I have no issues) you shouldn't have issues pressing the keys next to the alphas, and when you do type on the alphas, they don't press down below the level of the other keys.

The program break being auxiliary would require software changes. Most assembly TI-84 programs don't even have a break key by default, unless they're being run through a shell that adds it. Perhaps a timer, so you have to hold it down for half of a second, or a key combo.
I always found those tiny alpha keys in between the regular keys of the early Nspire versions to be an absolute travesty of keyboard design, personally. You needed tiny little fingers in order to press those things, so I think it was smart of them to abandon that design. Obviously for this project you're thinking of non-QWERTY keyboards, hamstrung once more by those silly standardized tests? Smile
I actually like the PRIZM's layout, but here are the improvements I would have:

1. Make [shift]+[(] (cuberoot) abs instead.
2. UI tweak: in run-mat, make a menu for switching between rad, deg, and gra modes. I find it time-consuming to always have to open the setup menu to change that.
even better for the prizm: Have the sqrt instead show root(...,2) (2nd root), and the nth root key will be abs. No loss of functionality, just gains!
I was thinking log would serve as log base n of x so you wouldn't need logbase, log and ln keys all together. having ln is nice, though, if you do a lot of calc.

@Kerm I think we really don't need qwerty, considering the generally accepted layout is vertical. Perhaps a thumb-optimized keyboard, aiming for bigrams. (Basically, QWERTY but vertical: This is why qwerty is actually a good choice for smartphones IMO)
willrandship wrote:
@Kerm I think we really don't need qwerty, considering the generally accepted layout is vertical. Perhaps a thumb-optimized keyboard, aiming for bigrams. (Basically, QWERTY but vertical: This is why qwerty is actually a good choice for smartphones IMO)
For something that you just want to do calculations, draw graphs, and do statistics, I agree that QWERTY is unnecessary. If you want the device to be able to serve other purposes as well for its users, I'd argue that the familiar QWERTY layout, inefficient as it is, is important. Smile But I'm getting off-topic, because that's not your goal. AHelper: Easy-of-use is important, and no student is going to want to (or even realize, in many cases, that they need to) type root(X,2) to get the square root of X.
[shameless 8 year bump]

I just want the keypad to be a freaking different pcb with better documentation so it can be reused without having to reverse engineer the layout from 'I think therefore I am'

Sorry, kinda, salty about that one

Oh, and also a mouse nipple in the middle of the arrow keys would be really nice on the 84 series.

Honestly, the best device I can think of is a newer nspire running the os from the 84 ce. But that's barely possible...
Mitchellmarquez42 wrote:
[shameless 8 year bump]
Oh, and also a mouse nipple in the middle of the arrow keys would be really nice on the 84 series.

What purpose would that serve? I know DCS7 is a thing but that's not exactly official...
I've tried to code TI-Basic on calc before in bed, and one of the most annoying things was being unable to see the keys. Some sort of backlight on the keys would be great, although probably only useful for the 133t H@xx0r$.

Mitchellmarquez42 wrote:
[shameless 8 year bump]

I just want the keypad to be a freaking different pcb with better documentation so it can be reused without having to reverse engineer the layout from 'I think therefore I am'

Sorry, kinda, salty about that one


I want that too, but TI has been "unwilling" to share it's plans and ideas with the maker community before, so that's unlikely to happen. But hey, there may be someone who's already done it; I've taken 84 PCE's apart for fun before and the key traces aren't nearly as intimidating as other PCBs. Unless you have bad vision of course, then following the tiny traces would be a nightmare.

Mitchellmarquez42 wrote:
Honestly, the best device I can think of is a newer nspire running the os from the 84 ce. But that's barely possible...


Ask and ye shall recieve Smile
Mitchellmarquez42 wrote:
[shameless 8 year bump]

I just want the keypad to be a freaking different pcb with better documentation so it can be reused without having to reverse engineer the layout from 'I think therefore I am'

Sorry, kinda, salty about that one

Oh, and also a mouse nipple in the middle of the arrow keys would be really nice on the 84 series.

Honestly, the best device I can think of is a newer nspire running the os from the 84 ce. But that's barely possible...


I reverse engineered the nspire's 84+ keypad a long time ago (9 years I think?). It's just a classic keyboard matrix, set up by the calculator to poll each row and look at the outputs from the columns. I even used it in a few projects for school.

I think the standard keypads are similar, but probably have some I2C or SPI chip for the trackpad on the "newer" ones. I never took any of those apart, though.

I had more info than this at one point, but it would help you get started.
https://www.omnimaga.org/other-calc-related-projects-and-ideas/the-nspire-keypad-connector/
I think the keypads are okay... I just wish you could hold down modifier keys on the TI 8x series (x < 89). That would make typing much faster.
  
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