Raspberry Pi Pico Flexible Keyboard Fits Inside Steam Deck Case

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Kārlis)

Have you ever wanted to take a keyboard with you when using your Steam Deck? Now you can pack one in its case thanks to this super compact project created by a maker and known as Kārlis over at GitHub. Using our favorite microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi Pico, he’s managed to create a super thin keyboard.

This project, while really cool, is mostly a proof of concept. Even maker Kārlis admits that the keyboard isn’t very practical. The idea was to create a flexible PCB using a vinyl cutter for experimental purposes. 

The 0.5mm-thick keyboard consists of a few layers of overhead projector (OHP) transparency film with copper tape used in-between to build connections for the keys. Kārlis designed and cut some vinyl stickers to label the keys on the keyboard. 

The final design is a clear with visible traces of copper tape used to make the switches for the keys. It's so small that it can fit comfortably in a Steam Deck carrying case.

Kārlis also experimented with lamination film in place of the OHP transparency film, the idea being that the final unit could be laminated together. However, the lamination film was too thin and cutting the copper tape also often cut the film. OHP transparency film proved to be a better option in that it was the thicker of the two.

The PCB layout was designed by Kārlis just for this project using Kicad. The main board driving the keyboard is a Raspberry Pi Pico running QMK firmware. Kārlis also created a useful editing tool called the KB-Editor that can be used to create and edit custom keyboard layouts. You can find the source code for the tool and try it out in browser over at GitHub.

If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project, you can check out the build details over at Hackaday. Be sure to follow Kārlis for more cool projects as well as any future updates on this one.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.