yeti logo icon
Close Icon
contact us
Yeti postage stamp
We'll reply within 24 hours.
Thank you! Your message has been received!
A yeti hand giving a thumb's up
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The Symbolicon: My Journey to an Ineffective 10-key Keyboard

Jonny Schult
March 4, 2024
A keyboard

Today, I'm thrilled to take you on a captivating journey into the world of the Symbolicon keyboard – a project that not only redefines the norms of typing but is also a testament to the creative spirit of its builder - Yeti developer, Jonny Shult.

***This article is a brief overview of a recent talk given by Jonny Shult. To learn more and take a deeper dive into the Symbolicon, be sure to check out the video below!

As a weekend project, I decided to delve into the intricacies of keyboard design - seeking to enhance the typing experience in ways that conventional keyboards had not explored.

The idea behind Symbolicon stemmed from a simple yet profound question: How can we reimagine the standard keyboard to enhance the typing experience? This exploration led me to consider unconventional inspirations, ultimately settling on the Braille alphabet.

While the Braille alphabet is designed for tactile reading, translating it into an efficient keyboard input posed a unique challenge. Despite my unfamiliarity with Braille, I embarked on the task of creating an ergonomic Braille alphabet specifically tailored for keyboard usage. The result was a thoughtful design that opened up new possibilities for accessibility and efficiency.

Crafting an ergonomic keyboard is a delicate blend of art and science. Through a process of trial and error, I developed a set of criteria to guide the design. From single key presses to mirroring fingers, each criterion aimed to enhance the user experience, resulting in a meticulously crafted keyboard that prioritizes both efficiency and user comfort.

The Symbolicon keyboard materialized through a Korn five-column keyboard kit. Assembling the 36 keys and a microcontroller unit required a bit of soldering, and the choice of ZMK firmware for programming, along with the Zephyr real-time operating system, ensured a deterministic environment crucial for optimal performance.

Symbolicon isn't just a keyboard; it's an entire universe of layers designed to cater to diverse typing needs. The alphabet layer, symbol layer, navigation layer, and numbers layer seamlessly integrate to offer a versatile typing experience. From efficient code typing to swift navigation, Symbolicon adapts to user demands with the switch of a layer.

Symbolicon transcends traditional setups, offering potential applications in the mobile realm. Envision handheld devices or finger rings equipped with technology capable of deciphering muscle contractions for typing. This opens up exciting possibilities for virtual workspaces and mobile applications.

As with any innovation, the Symbolicon keyboard comes with its set of challenges. Switching between layers demands a learning curve, and the firmware logic is a work in progress. Yet, the satisfaction derived from typing on this ergonomic marvel is unparalleled. While my typing speed may not have skyrocketed yet, the journey has just begun.

The Future of Symbolicon

While Symbolicon might not replace my daily driver just yet, its potential to revolutionize typing experiences is undeniable. As I aim to improve my typing speed and explore the intricacies of the keyboard, I invite fellow enthusiasts to join me on this journey of innovation and discovery.

In conclusion, the Symbolicon keyboard represents a fusion of creativity, ergonomic design, and technological ingenuity. As we navigate the evolving landscape of input devices, Symbolicon stands as a testament to the power of reimagining the familiar for a more efficient and enjoyable typing experience. Stay tuned for more updates, and let's continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in the world of keyboards!

Yeti is an IoT application development company. If you'd like to learn more about what we do, be sure to take a look at our work page featuring insightful case studies showcasing our collaborations with renowned clients such as Google, Netflix, Westfield, and many others. For more insightful content, don't miss the Yeti blog and our extensive library of IoT software development content.

Jonny is a software developer at Yeti. His technical career was borne of his interests in language, “truth,” and logic. When not coding or reading philosophy, he can be found blocking volleyballs with his face, DMing epic and frivolous DnD adventures, or watching the West Yorkshire Football Club, Leeds United, all from the Hoosier heartland of LaPorte Indiana.

You Might also like...

Shopify Checkout Using UI Extensions

At Yeti we recently created a custom Shopify App using Checkout UI extensions to pull real-time data from a client’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system into Shopify. By the end of this article you will better understand what Shopify Checkout UI extensions are, how to approach building them, and some of the things to keep in mind during the implementation process.

colorful swirlsAn Introduction to Neural Networks

Join James McNamara in this insightful talk as he navigates the intricate world of neural networks, deep learning, and artificial intelligence. From the evolution of architectures like CNNs and RNNs to groundbreaking techniques like word embeddings and transformers, discover the transformative impact of AI in image recognition, natural language processing, and even coding assistance.

Accessibility First In React Native

Mobile devices present the biggest need for an accessibility-first mindset. So what are the challenges facing developers, and why are some hesitant to encourage accessibility as a primary design priority? This article introduces three best practices and three potential gotchas for accessibility development on one of the most popular app-building frameworks, React Native.

Browse all Blog Articles

Ready for your new product adventure?

Let's Get Started