Latest Project: RSS Reader Remote

This morning I finished my first electronics project in a really long time: a dedicated remote for clicking through RSS feeds. Here’s why and how.

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Why:

  • I am not nearly as active as I should be, so I built a $22 Ikea Standing Desk (actually, with sales and some part swaps, I built mine for $9.98).
  • My company has a generous fitness subsidy, so I added a treadmill to the setup.
  • Typing below 2.5 mph is easy enough, but I find I can still read at 3-3.5 mph (getting me to my target 10k steps that much faster).
  • At 3-3.5 mph, advancing through an RSS feed is a little uncomfortable with a keyboard; I couldn’t help but wonder if a dedicated remote would help.

How:

  • The remote is built on the Adafruit “Trinket” — a great little $7 variant of the popular Arduino board. It’s smaller, cheaper, but still far more capable than this project requires.
  • I found a really helpful tutorial for turning the Trinket into a custom keyboard; just modify the code to match your RSS reader’s controls (99% likelihood it’s J/K for next/previous).
  • I mounted the buttons/Trinket to a small breadboard with the power rails snapped off.
  • I built a simple enclosure in Tinkercad and printed it on my Makerbot.

Here it is, finished and assembled:

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The enclosure could use some revisions (e.g. rounding the bottom corners so it fits better in your hand), but it works exactly as planned!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get some steps.

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