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Pico-Powered Touchpad Adds 24 Buttons to Your Project

The Blackboard from Blackbeat
(Image credit: Blackbeat.io)

Looking rather like a dance mat for tarantulas, this is, in fact, the Blackboard (as featured on Hackster (opens in new tab)). It has 24 capacitive touchpads and nine LEDs with an embedded Raspberry Pi Pico ready to be used as an interface device for whatever you can imagine.

Designs for the front and back of the Blackboard

(Image credit: Blackbeat.io)

Made in Mexico by Blackbeat (opens in new tab), a specialist in electronic music products, the Blackboard is fully customizable, and you can use all its keys and LEDs at the same time, even adding five external pads if you need to. Alongside the Raspberry Pi Pico (opens in new tab) sits a pair of Attiny chips, each responsible for monitoring 12 of the buttons for a press.

It’s not the first time this kind of HID has been built around the Pico - we’ve covered (opens in new tab) three just (opens in new tab) this year (opens in new tab) - but it’s certainly the classiest, with no analog switches or LED lights. You could write on the Blackboard’s surface with a wax pencil or even chalk, but would have to be careful that your fingertips didn’t wipe off important information as you did so.

The Blackboard connects through a USB connector to a host device, from where you can program it in C/C++, MicroPython, CircuitPython, or via the Arduino IDE. It’s available from Blackbeat's Tindie store (opens in new tab) for $90.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • missingxtension
    Not a bad price for a midi controller....but $50 shipping from Sinaloa Mexico to Texas tips the scales.
    Did i forget to mention that it doesn't come ready to use out of the box
    Reply
  • Blackbeat.io Support
    missingxtension said:
    Not a bad price for a midi controller....but $50 shipping from Sinaloa Mexico to Texas tips the scales.
    Did i forget to mention that it doesn't come ready to use out of the box

    The board is ready to use like Keyboard Usb so you can use with your favorite software like Soundtrap or Virtual DJ or you can program code that you want and we upgrade the cost shipping.
    Thanks for you comment.

    contact@blackbeat.iowe share this email if you have any quuestion or comment

    Best Regards
    Manuel Trejo, CEO of Blackbeat.io
    Reply