Lenovo Trackpoint mod

I really like Lenovo’s TrackPoint, but hey I also like the Keyboardio. If only there were a way to combine the two.

I purchased and promptly disassembled a Lenovo TrackPoint USB keyboard, just to see if this could ever work. It works pretty well. In place of the three TrackPoint buttons (for the three mouse buttons), I mapped Layer 2 for three of the bottom keys on the Keyboardio, so clicking is as simple as holding down Fn and pressing a key. It works surprisingly well, but obviously it would be ideal if I didn’t need a separate connection for the TrackPoint keyboard’s logic board, which seems to contain a controller for the Trackpoint “joystick”. This means I likely would not be able to integrate the TrackPoint within the Keyboardio enclosure without a custom PCB with that controller. Also, placement is difficult because of that relatively-inflexible ribbon cable connecting the logic board to the TrackPoint stick. Thankfully there was plenty of adhesive in the TrackPoint USB keyboard enclosure that I used to stick the logic board and TrackPoint stick to the Keyboardio.

It is very shabby. Not bad for 30 minutes though. Open to suggestion from smarter people for how to make this better.

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You are amazing and this post has to be 20 characters for some reason.

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How do you attach the Trackpoint to your computer?

So far so good. I am used to it and work pretty quickly. Scrolling with the middle mouse button works on Windows but not macOS. Probably works on Linux. I am finding the “hold Fn for mouse mode” workflow to be more intuitive than expected, as though this is what the Keyboardio was made for (not to sound cliché). I’ve set middle mouse button to launch mission control on macOS, which makes navigation pretty easy. I usually have middle mouse launch mission control anyway.

I think the perfect version of this will require a third party analog stick of sorts, so that it can be connected to the Keyboardio’s Arduino directly. A ribbon cable can probably slip between the bottom plastic and the wood top of the Keyboardio, but machining a small hole for the stick to screw into the wood would be a more permanent solution.

I see a sort of modular system for Keyboardio that involves 3D printing various top shells that have openings for add-ons like a trackpoint. Other mods could be a scroll wheel, palm heaters (if power draw is sufficient…), and perhaps even a small display and some small buttons for mapping keys and changing LEDs, sort of like Teenage Engineering’s OP-1.

I’ve really struggled to find a good ergonomic solution for the mouse, and this TrackPoint mod has been the most ergonomic experience so far. Some people swear by trackpads, trackball mice, those vertical mice… those are still very uncomfortable for me to use for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m surprised that so few people seem to have the problem I have… everyone can think of a time where they had RSI to some extent, but it’s always followed by “but then I got x mouse and it went away”.

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USB A to Micro USB, just the guts of a TrackPoint USB keyboard

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I want to try this! So cool! Can you link to the parts you used?

How did you attach the trackpoint to the keyboardio, and why that location? I think I’d want it closer to my thumbs.

Trackpoint USB Keyboard

There is a sort of adhesive tape used to attach that board to the plastic enclosure of the TrackPoint keyboard. I’ve tried several places but that seems to be about the only place it can go. Anywhere else and the flex cable tends to get in the way of the keys.

Cool thanks!

I meant the actual pointer - the thing you move around to move the mouse - how does it attach?

How does it physically attach to the Keyboardio (sticky tape glue), or how is it connected to the board (connector with a plastic locking mechanism)?