The Raspberry Pi Pico's RP2040 SoC is turning up in the most unlikely of places, one of which is a redesigned mechanical keyboard from Pimoroni. Keybow 2040 is the latest version of Pimoroni's Keybow keyboard add ons, and this version is the first to feature the RP2040 SoC as the brains of the project. We reached out to Pimoroni and we have all the confirmed details on this most unusual RP2040 board.
It’s so beautiful, I think I might cry, @pimoroni 🥲 #Keybow2040 #RP2040 pic.twitter.com/V3igoXviwrFebruary 8, 2021
Pimoroni's Keybow has been around for some time. It was developed to use a Raspberry Pi Zero as a simple USB gadget that would emulate keyboard keys or be used to run macros. Keybow RP2040 has the new "Pi Silicon" SoC at the heart of the board, not a Raspberry Pi Pico but the RP2040 SoC embedded to the custom-designed board, which is used to emulate a USB HID device.
It sports a 4 x 4 matrix of Cherry MX-compatible mechanical keys, all of which have an RGB LED underneath controlled by an IS31FL3731 PWM LED matrix driver. Of course, each of these LEDs can be independently controlled to produce colorful animations or to indicate function / status of a key.
Power and data connectivity is handled via a USB-C connector. On launch there will be MicroPython and C/C++ libraries with examples which can be tweaked to serve your needs. Pimoroni aim to have keyboard emulation ready on launch, which would introduce the feature to Raspberry Pi Pico's own version of MicroPython. At present, keyboard emulation on the Pico is only possible with C and CircuitPython from Adafruit.
The anticipated release date is from the week commencing February 22, but this depends on Pimoroni receiving their allocation of RP2040 SoC. Price looks to be around £50, or about $68. Tom's Hardware will shortly be receiving their review unit and it will be added to our everything we know page for the Raspberry Pi Pico.