Hi there, and welcome to the monthly UHK status update!
TL;DR: The trackball module is now fully functional. Modules will be more portable than expected. Some great UHK reviews have been published.
Trackball module demo
I really wanted to show up the trackball module in the previous UHK newsletter, but couldn't because the pointer moved in a very erratic fashion. I'm happy to report that I've managed to fix the problem, so here comes the obligatory demo.
We're very pleased with the usability of both the trackball and key cluster modules. They allow for fine-grained mouse control without leaving the home row, and work just as envisioned. The mini trackball of the key cluster is very handy for scrolling, and the trackball module is a great tool for moving the pointer.
Although the schematic of the trackball prototype contained minor errors, the fix mostly involved changing a couple of lines of the trackball module firmware. This was followed by the refactoring of the trackball module firmware, specifically, and then a massive refactoring of the module firmware codebase in general. As a result, the source code of the modules shrunk to merely 100-200 lines per module, allowing me to develop the firmwares of the remaining modules with minimum effort.
I've already started to develop the firmware of the trackpoint module, and the new touchpad PCB has just arrived, ready to be assembled. I'm looking forward to making these modules work, too. We'll be keeping you updated.
The modules make the UHK less portable in the sense that one can't just merge the halves and pick them up with one hand, but as it turns out, even with the modules, portability is exceptionally good for a modular keyboard.
It spontaneously occurred to us when playing with the modules that the left and right modules merge, just as the keyboard halves. This isn't surprising given that the keyboard halves merge, and the shape of the modules is the inverse of the keyboard halves.
Then it also occurred to us that, given that the back of the modules feature magnets and magnet counterparts just as the UHK does, the modules and the UHK can be stuck together.
This allows for great portability despite the modular nature of the UHK, and as a bonus, it's quite a conversation piece.
LearnCode.academy has made an outstanding video review of the UHK, which we were quite flattered by. Will has praised many facets of the UHK, including its build quality, feature set, and ease of configurability.
Another spectacular review has been made by TechPowerUp. This one is extremely in-depth, contains tons of high quality pictures, and doesn't only explore the outside of the UHK but its inside, too.
You guys keep sending your awesome tweets, and we're always eager to read and feature them! If you got your UHK, please share your love!
I've been using my @UltHackKeyboard for three weeks now. It's amazing. The build quality is such that typing is enjoyable. Still get the hang of switching between the various mod keys. If you're thinking about getting one do so. It's so worth it.— Ben Schmidt (@SurRobin) December 24, 2019
I #GotMyUHK from @UltHackKeyboard and I'm really liking it. Beyond the quality hardware, the team really thought about the details (packaging, onboarding, Agent). Paired with a Surface Book 2, I'm really happy with my mobile setup. pic.twitter.com/L5MciQO4Bl— Matt Robinson (@artPlusPlus) December 26, 2019
Okay, I've been using my @UltHackKeyboard full time for a year now. It was hard to learn how to use a separate keyboard, but the main goal was achieved, I feel no more pain in my wrists when working for more than 3 hours, and it's awesome. I'm very happy about it.— アルテミ ・ ステパノフ (@0xk175un3) December 27, 2019
I preordered when they first announced then cancelled when the project was delayed. Just got one last month now that they are in stock. The build quality and typing experience are both exceptional. I got white case with clear switches and the wrist rest. Happy to field any Qs— Josh Greenwood (@JoshTGreenwood) December 25, 2019
We'll be keeping you updated on all things UHK, and are looking forward to talking to you on 2020-02-10.