When typing away at your computer, there are likely times where a few keystrokes just don’t cut it, and a big red emergency button would be more appropriate. This, you might assume, is the type of thing that only appears in a cartoon, perhaps featuring an elaborate trap to catch a very fast bird.
This assumption, however, would now be wrong as Glen Atkins has integrated an HID-capable PIC16F1459 chip inside of an industrial mushroom push button switch. Instead of stopping a heavy assembly cell until reset, his board/software now either inserts a poop emoji into a Microsoft document, or executes a sequence that locks his Linux box at work. Both make sense in their own context, either when firing off an angry email, or clocking out for the day with a final button press.
Electronics-wise, the device is nearly identical to his Single ESC Key USB Keyboard from May 2018, but this build takes things to a whole new level. Rather than merely wire an input from the button’s internals and leave things loose — or glued — inside, he designed a 3D-printed holder based on the manufacturer’s 3D model to nicely mount his custom circuit board. This produced a secure assembly that looks internally almost like it was meant to be there. Notably, per its new USB connection, the unit is no longer appropriate for actual safety-critical applications.
Industrial E-Stop Button Becomes Novel Computer Interface was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.