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Raspberry Pi Pico Big Orange Button Does Whatever You Want

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Dmytro Panin)

You know you want to press it. But what does it do? This Raspberry Pi Pico project from Dmytro Panin does whatever you want! It’s a single-key USB keyboard that can be programmed and customized to perform a wide variety of functions. Panin calls it the Big Orange Button or just BOB for short.

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We’ve seen Pi-powered keyboards before but this is the most hazardous-looking one we’ve seen yet—and it’s just one key! The housing and button cap were designed by Panin and 3D printed. Inside, the button and HID function is operated by one of Pimoroni’s Tiny 2040. Tiny 2040 uses the same RP2040 SoC as the Raspberry Pi Pico, and the new Raspberry Pi Pico W. The super small form factor makes it ideal for simple projects that don’t need a full-sized Pico to function.

If this project sounds cool, you’re going to love exploring Panin’s history of Pi projects. He thrives on creating fun things with various Pi boards. We recently featured him on our Raspberry Pi-themed podcast, The Pi Cast, where Panin showed off an air raid siren monitor which is helping to inform users in Ukraine. But before things got so serious, he tackled all sorts of whimsical ideas like this air quality traffic light and a morse code translator that flickers out incoming messages from Telegram.

Almost all of his creations are open source and this project is no different. If you want to make a Big Orange Button of your own, you’ll need a Pimoroni Tiny 2040, a keyboard switch, some wires, a few screws and of course the 3D-printable files which available for download at his profile on Printables to print the shell. You can use any color you like but without making it orange, you won’t be able to call it BOB.

The code for the BOB keyboard was written using CircuitPython version 7.3.1 using the HID module from the CircuitPython Library bundle. Panin explains that it’s capable of supporting three types of commands including single key presses, a string of characters, and various control settings like brightness, etc. To get a closer look at the source code, check out the project thread over at GitHub.

If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project, check out the original project thread shared to Twitter to see it in action and follow the instructions from GitHub to get started. Be sure to follow Dmytro Panin for more creations and definitely explore his previous projects for some exciting inspirational creations. 

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.

  • husker
    In case you want a non-orange "BOB":

    Color Hex
    Ochre #CC7722
    Ogre #622b2d
    Olive #808000
    Olivine #9AB973
    Orchid #DA70D6
    Owo #2F321E
    Reply