Presented by

  • Vik Olliver

    Vik Olliver

    Vik is probably best known as a core dev on the RepRap 3D printer project, where he built the first replicating 3D printer and kick started the 3D printer revolution. These days Vik spends much of his time organising the free community Fab Lab workshop with his daughter in Masterton, New Zealand, infiltrating the concepts of Open Source and Open Hardware into the local populace and chasing far too many grant applications. In his spare time he vapourises Arduinos, manages an olive grove, shoots at small clay discs, and nearly finishes writing his documentation.


If you're in a situation where you can't use a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen, it's very hard to be a part of our digital society. The Quirkey keyboard takes its accessibility cues from 80's when Microwriter developed an effective typing system using a keyboard with 5 main tactile keys, one for each digit - arm movement and vision not required. Their device was expensive, somewhat clunky due to the technology of the day, proprietary, patented up to the eyeballs, and finally orphaned in a dysfunctional venture capital disaster. But the patents have long expired, and Vik wrote the original PC keyboard drivers... Quirkey re-implements the system Microwriter painstakingly developed. It's now a palm-sized, driverless HID keyboard device made using 3D printing and off the shelf Open Source hardware. The result is cheap, customizable, Open in every way, and thanks to all the above, easy to make in any modest Maker Space. This presentation covers creating a custom parametric 3D printed shell in OpenSCAD, and making firmware that runs on more or less any Arduino/Pico/ESP32 with USB or Bluetooth HID. You'll also see how the typing system works, and the not insubstantial improvements that have been made to the original 80's design. A cool hardware project does not make a product though, and the author wishes to share the lessons learned in creating the user-friendly documentation, training systems, and maker-friendly technical packages needed to turn a project into a product that can change people's lives.