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Pico-Powered Touchpad Adds 24 Buttons to Your Project

The Blackboard from Blackbeat
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Looking rather like a dance mat for tarantulas, this is, in fact, the Blackboard (as featured on Hackster). 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

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Made in Mexico by Blackbeat, 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 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 three just this year - 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 for $90.