Technology

What would you do with this cool DIY tactile button?

Sometimes you come across a DIY project and immediately think about how you could use it in your life. That’s what happened to us here The edge when someone falls down the SmartKnob view, a proof-of-concept project by engineer Scott Bezek, to our Slack chat. While it doesn’t seem like the kind of project most people could build themselves right now (more on that later), it’s easy to envision a future where it’s available in kit form, or where someone makes one out of it actual product.

The smart button looks like a mini nest thermostat, but Bezek programmed it to have tons of modes. Of course, it can only act as a spinning dial, but you can also program its motor to give haptic feedback and resistance, giving you the feeling of reaching an end point where the dial won’t spin anymore. Because this illusion is created by software rather than hardware, there’s a lot you can do. It can act as an on/off switch, snap back to center after twisting and releasing, and even simulate ratcheting steps.

When my colleagues and I heard about the knob, there was one edge The employee immediately suggested it would be great for controlling the shower temperature. Another said they would use it as a fancy scroll wheel or as a volume control. Personally I thought it would be a great way to dial in the amount of food my cat food waived.

According to Bezek GitHub page for the Smart Knob, the device (which is far from having a finished design) can be built for “certainly less than $200 in parts.” The page also contains the code for the project, as well as a wealth of information about how the button is put together and what parts it uses. Bezek also said on Twitter that he would make a video detailing the assembly and design process for his SmartKnob.

Unfortunately, we may have to put our dreams of button-controlled home automation on hold for the time being. In the project’s FAQ, Bezek writes that he “only implemented enough firmware for the demo shown in the video” and that the button currently can’t really be used to control anything. Parts would also be difficult to come by – Bezek writes that “due to the popularity of this project, the recommended engines are unfortunately no longer available,” writes Bezek.


Yes, the button has USB-C.
Image: Scott Bezek

But even with barebones firmware only, and I still want to build one and use it as the ultimate fidget toy. Perhaps if he nails a design and the parts are available, I’ll be able to build my skills up to the point where I can tackle the advanced soldering techniques needed to actually make the smart button.

Bezek admits that the button is “not a mature plug-and-play project yet,” but says he’ll keep working on it, and even has a roadmap of sorts on his GitHub page. I hope he manages to turn this into a handy thing you can craft – I want a future where I can build an army of buttons to control everything in my house. TV volume needs to be adjusted? Button. I want to turn off my camera and end a Zoom call with a gesture instead of a push of a button? Button. Need to stop writing an article? I still can’t figure out how to solve this with a button, but I assure you that I will find out.

What would you use a smart button for?

https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/14/23025948/diy-smart-knob-smartknob-view-haptic-feedback-dreams What would you do with this cool DIY tactile button?

Fry Electronics Team

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