The Treasure Macropad Type-9

Open Hardware – TMT9

© Lead Image © lightwise, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © lightwise, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 229/2019
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This DIY, programmable input device is a compact companion to your keyboard, with nine keys and 16 layers that can be customized for different applications and games.

From keyboards to graphic tablets, modern input devices are sporting programmable keys. These keys are not only convenient, but help to reduce repetitive stress injuries by keeping the fingers on the keyboard. Yet there is something to be said for a single compact programmable device rather than several scattered across your workspace. That is the advantage of the Treasure Macropad Type-9 (TMT9) [1], the first product of Eric Boudo's new company (Figure 1). Measuring a little over 2x2 inches, the TMT9 has only nine keys, but includes 16 different layers, for a total of 144 programmable keys altogether. It's a compact little device, although for Linux users it requires a certain amount of work and patience, since only graphical setups for Windows and macOS are available.

Figure 1: The TMT9 ships with some assembly required.

No matter what your operating system, the TMT9 requires some DIY adjustments, especially since the company is not set up for technical support. Fortunately, ample help is available on the Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK) website [2], although configuration takes several steps. In addition, units ship unassembled, although no soldering is required. Nor do units ship with keycaps for the Cherry MX mechanical key switches, which have to be ordered separately from a third party [3] (Figure 2). Also, while a newer model that supports USB C is due out soon – and may be available by the time you read this article – the TMT9 requires a USB 2.0 A-Male to Mini-B cable, which is not easy to find in computer stores these days. In the end, I had to order one from Amazon.

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