Sometimes your computer needs just one button to activate a specific action.
If you are transcribing an audio recording, you might want one button to rewind the track three seconds.
If you are picky about your music, you might want a specific button to skip a track.
If you are an employee who needs to hide what you’re doing on a computer, you might need a panic button that immediately does an ALT + TAB when emergency strikes.
The good news is that these projects are extremely easy to do.
And since you designed it yourself, you can put it together super easily with a Raspberry Pi Pico and a button available in many beginner’s kits.
You can make more elaborate projects such as foot-operated buttons or like this guy below, a “BOB”.
BOB (Big Orange Button)
Big Orange Button in action pic.twitter.com/tXIW1ZMfGj— Dmytro Panin (@dr2mod) July 7, 2022
Dmytro Panin’s BOB is a simple project built with a RP2040 on a Pimoroni Tiny 2040.
“I always wanted my laptop to have a big designated physical key that I can hit and not be afraid I’d break it,” he said.
Dmytro’s reasoning for using a Tiny 2040 was because he had it lying around and that it was small enough to fit within the nuclear-activation button enclosure.
“This was a Saturday evening project, so I just went with what I had,” he said.
In order to build the enclosure, you will need access to 3D printer, a keyboard switch, two M3x12 screws and a connection wire.
This project can easily be done with a Raspberry Pi Pico too. At the end of the day, what makes this project super easy is the CircuitPython Human Interaction Device (HID) library, which instantly changes your Pico into a keyboard upon plugging in the USB.
Minimum viable keyboard
At the heart of it, Redditor u/nogg3r5’s “minimum viable keyboard” project shows the most fundamental way to build a one-button project.
You just need wires, a button (could be a key from a mechanical keyboard) and a USB cable.
Take it a step further and build a one-button solution to writing fluent sarcasm.
A while ago, I created a Raspberry Pi Pico project that uses the same HID library that the BOB uses.
To write sArCasM, I toggled Caps Lock on and off at a specific interval once a button is pressed.
If that button is pressed again, it deactivates the sArcAsm.
You can see detailed instructions, code and parts list here on our Raspberry Pi Pico in-depth article.