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I have an USB keyboard (HHKB) which has some great irreplaceable features(That's why I would not like to buy a Bluetooth keyboard directly) and I love to use it very much. But the only improvement I expect is to avoid its USB wire. I would like to connect it to my laptop(a Macbook Air) wirelessly with Bluetooth.

I have searched the Internet but found only a little pieces. I still don't know what I need to prepare and how to do it. Is there any small device which can be plug into the USB port of my keyboard and convert it to a Bluetooth keyboard? If there's not, how can I make one by myself?

Thank you!

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    \$\begingroup\$ It isn't just a question of communication; it's also a question of getting power to the keyboard. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Nov 9 '12 at 11:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could probably do it with an Arduino + Bluetooth shield. Packaging and power might take some thought though. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul R Nov 9 '12 at 11:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed It if works I would like to embed an rechargeable Ion battery into the keyboard and keep the USB way. When it's short of power, I could connect it with USB and recharge it. What do you think? \$\endgroup\$ – Skyler Nov 9 '12 at 12:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Man, that's one expensive keyboard! \$\endgroup\$ – kenny Nov 9 '12 at 12:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PaulR Arduino is a little too big to be embed into a keyboard. Is there any smaller Arduino board? \$\endgroup\$ – Skyler Nov 9 '12 at 12:07
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You can use Handheld Scientific's adapter which is battery powered.

Here is a build log for a Model M. I don't know if HHKB has enough free space, but one always can hack something up.

You can also check out adafruit's ez-key, I guess it'll be fairly easy to use it, won't take up much space in the keyboard either.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't own a HHKB so it's not my problem, but the handheld scientofic page explicitly states that boards with integrated usb hibs, such as HHKB, don't work. Looks like it will support my Model M's, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Wyatt8740 Jan 31 '16 at 15:04
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The Arduino Micro, announced just yesterday by AdaFruit and Arduino, might be a good solution for you.

The new board is compatible with the Arduino Leonardo and uses the ATmega32u4, thus it comes with built-in USB functionality. The size is 1.9 x 0.7 inches (48 x 18mm), with a microUSB socket at one end.

Note that this board is different from, and actually bigger than, the SparkFun Pro Micro, which is a mere 1.3 x 0.7 inches and also comes with the same MCU and USB functionality - so I'm not quite sure why the Adafruit product was announced at all.

A power source and an equally tiny Bluetooth module (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4) would be needed, and of course the functionality required will have to be coded.

Before going down that path, this other question is a valuable caution about 3.3 Volts v/s 5 Volts in connecting up a module to any 5 Volt Arduino.


There are also several other, older Arduino boards of various diminutive sizes, such as the unbelievably tiny yet fully capable FemtoDuino at 0.81 x 0.6 inches (20.7 × 15.2 mm). However, these require USB to TTL conversion either using a FTDI chip or otherwise. None of the various ultra-tiny Arduinos seem to support USB natively, but searching deeper might prove otherwise.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool! Any idea about the power supply? tiny rechargeable battery inside? \$\endgroup\$ – Skyler Nov 9 '12 at 13:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget that you need USB host or OTG functionality to talk to the keyboard. The boards suggested in this answer only have USB device capability. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Nov 9 '12 at 14:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed Yeah, this answer won't work. Something like the Teensy++2.0 would work. \$\endgroup\$ – Jim Paris Nov 9 '12 at 19:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JimParis: No, Teensy++2.0 is also device-only USB. The Teensy 3.0, with its MK20DX128 processor, has USB OTG capability. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Nov 10 '12 at 3:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Huh, you're right. I thought the Teensy++2.0 was an AT90USB1287, but they skimped on the CPU and only put at 1286 in there. An AT90USBKEY would work if you want to stick with AVR. \$\endgroup\$ – Jim Paris Nov 10 '12 at 6:54
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Check out ATEN TAP CS533 bluetooth converter, you will find the device you want.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's great but not what I want. My expection is to avoid the USB wire, and ATEN tap cs533 even introduces more wires :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Skyler Nov 1 '13 at 19:19
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According to this guide it seems kinda easy. Just the 4th point is kinda tricky.

4.Connect the radio transmitter to the micro-controller that is attached to the keyboard. The micro-controller and the radio transmitter have designated interfaces for this connection. The transmitter should be configured to transmit at 433.92 MHz. Radiotronix offers a wide range of transmitters suitable for this type of use. The transmitter must be powered by an internal battery.

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