Taking a keyboard apart for a virtual reality? - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 05-14-2011, 12:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Taking a keyboard apart for a virtual reality?

Is it possible take a keyboard apart, take all the actual keys off, and put the buttons for different keys somewhere other than on the pad that is under the keys?

I started thinking about this when playing Counter-strike Source. This idea is probably crazy and nonsense but what if you could make a body suit with some keyboard keys/buttons on it, so when you hit a "key" it interacts with the game?

In CSS when you press the number 1 key, it pulls out the primary weapon (a rifle), when you press 2 it pulls out the secondary weapon (a pistol), 3 for the melee weapon (a knife), and 4 for the grenades. The keys for each weapon could positioned on your body like they are on the models in the game, so you could touch somewhere on your leg to pull out the pistol (like a holster), hit a pocket to pull out a knife, another for the grenades, and somewhere for the rifle.

As for moving, my computer chair sits on a four squared rubber mat (to protect the carpet). Could I put one "key" under each mat? When you step on one mat it presses the "forward" key, when you step on another it presses the "strafe to the left" key, and have another for "back" and another for "strafe to the right".

Could I take the keyboard apart, and use some wire to extend the buttons to do this? Or is it a dumb nonsense idea?

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Old 05-14-2011, 05:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Taking a keyboard apart for a virtual reality?

It is far more difficult than you think. Keyboards use a "membrane" usually consisting of 2-6 layers of plastic, with a conductive circuit printed onto each layer. It is laid out in such a way that it would be somewhat difficult to see which circuits are shorted together to signal to the controller that a particular button is being pushed, and there is really no way to make the traces longer.

Great idea, but would take some basic knowledge in electronics design.

If you are dead set on it, I would look into mechanical switchs instead of a membrane.

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Old 05-21-2011, 10:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Taking a keyboard apart for a virtual reality?

I don't play CS but... a buddy mine built a driving sim for the 360, w/ exisiting games. He literally took a bucket seat and steering wheel a 360 controller and went with it. The controller is disassebled and behind the dash where he has mapped the wiring from the board to various switches on his "seat." i.e. the E-Brake is literally the button on the end of the e-brake. So I guess what Im saying/asking is can CS be played with a controller of any sort? at that point I would imagine it's only a matter of splicing wires.
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