The Mouseky Keyboard Includes a Mouse, But Not in the Way You Think


We’re currently living in the golden age of keyboards. Thanks to the widespread proliferation of affordable components and design tools, motivated makers can create the keyboards of their dreams. No longer are we limited to whatever the product strategies of large corporations say we want. As such, there are many interesting DIY keyboard designs in the community that integrate features we don’t see on production models. One awesome is example is Taliyah Huang’s Mouseky keyboard, which includes a built-in mouse — but not in the way you’re thinking.

There are many keyboards that include mice (including production models), but they usually accomplish that with a touch pad, trackball, or ThinkPad-style TrackPoint nub. Huang’s Mouseky is different and utilizes a technique we’ve never seen before: moving the entire keyboard. This is a split keyboard design, so the keyboard is essentially cut in half. Underneath the right half is an optical mouse sensor. By moving that entire half of the keyboard around, the user can manipulate the mouse cursor. This is a really appealing concept, as it lets power users move the cursor without taking their hands off of the keys. Different key press combinations let the user click or scroll.

Like most DIY keyboards, Mouseky uses mechanical key switches (Cherry MX Brown). Huang hand-wired those, as opposed to using a PCB. The Mouseky design calls for three Sparkfun Pro Micro development boards: one for each half of the keyboard and one that plugs into the computer and acts as a receiver. The two keyboard Pro Micros communicate with the receiver Pro Micro via nRF24L01 radio modules. The power for the keyboard halves comes from USB power banks. Instead of trying to design a mouse from scratch, Huang simply grabbed the parts from a consumer wireless mouse.

The two keyboard enclosures were 3D-printed in pretty pastel colors. But those 3D-printed enclosures ended up being Huang’s major complaint about the project. They’re just too thicc and that makes typing for extended periods of time uncomfortable. Huang also reports that moving the right keyboard half around causes arm fatigue and pain eventually. The solution to both problems would be to design custom PCBs and use flat lithium batteries, which would dramatically reduce the thickness and weight of Mouseky. That would make typing more comfortable and would make arm fatigue less of a concern.

We hope that Huang does decide to refine the Mouseky design, because we think the concept is a good one. Integrating the mouse in this way would have a real productivity benefit for those of us who type a lot and don’t like wasting time to move our hands over to a dedicated mouse.