Marc Dougherty

āš’ āš™ ā›µ

Unicode (emoji) keyboard

21 April 2015

Emoji keyboards on mobile devices have been in widespread use for a while, but I sometimes find myself using a computer, and have a hard time remembering the unicode identifiers for a nice cup of tea (1f375 - šŸµ ) or a suitable warning character (2620 - ā˜  ). So I decided to make a supplemental Unicode keyboard.

unicode keyboard

Code

The code can be found on Github: http://github.com/muncus/unicode-keyboard. User-servicable parts are in config.h.

Since the key sequence for entering a unicode character varies by operating system, the current implementation only supports Linux, though there are notes in the code for how support for other OSes could be implemented.

Build

I had a Teensy 2.0 handy, for which there are several good examples of emulating a USB keyboard. Any old button will do, but I wanted that good old keyboard feel, so i bought a Cherry MX switch sampler from WASD keyboards and some spare switches, just in case.

Wired one side of the switches all to ground, the other side to the first 6 data pins on the Teensy.

Once that was done, all that was left was to add the symbols to the keys. Knowing iā€™d probably want to change these frequently, i chose to print out the symbols, and just tape them to the keycaps with clear scotch tape. Done!