If you use a computer regularly, there are likely keystrokes that you have to input over and over in sequence, or functions that would be better served by a single key than the operation you currently use. For hackers, this can mean creating a custom keyboard from scratch, perhaps with a development board and mechanical switches in a custom configuration made to your specs.
While this can be a great experience for many, and a productivity booster when you’re done, perhaps you don’t want to reinvent the wheel again. If you’re fairly new to electronics, a kit could be very helpful. For either purpose, Painless Prototyping has come up with the BYO [Build Your Own] 9 Key Keyboard Kit.
The kit takes the form of a PCB, which mounts 9 keyboard keys, along with an Adafruit ItsyBitsy M0 Express for interface duties. Keyboard switches, along with the requisite diodes and header pins must be soldered on, making it a fun project, or a useful introduction to soldering if you’re new to this pursuit. Once assembled, the M0 can be programmed to suit your particular computing needs, allowing you to access those once hard-to-input commands with ease!
Of course, if you’d prefer a few more keys, a couple of rotary encoders, and a USB hub, you might also check out the HUB 16 input device.