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Thread: IBM iPoint keyboard--anyone have any ideas?

  1. #1
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    Default IBM iPoint keyboard--anyone have any ideas?

    On impulse (new for $5), I picked up an IBM I-Point IR keyboard:



    It takes 4 AA cells and has a rubber pointing device in the corner. I can't find a thing out about this and will probably end up hooking an IR sensor to my logic analyzer to figure the codes out.

    The serial number is 768, so there probably weren't many of these produced. IBM part number 19K1800; Model no. SK-8807.

    Anyone know anything else about this?

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    Never seen one, do you have the part that connect to the computer or just the keyboard?
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    The keyboard has what look like internet labeled keys (reload, home). I remember seeing a lot of similar form factor keyboards for WebTV. I also have a Kensington Mouse from the mid-90s with IBM logos, part of an unfortunate partnership.

    My guess would something along those lines: a WebTV keyboard with licensed use of the IBM logo. Unless IBM partnered on some other internet device.

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    I think it would be funny as frig if it worked with the PCjr.
    It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

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    Clearly, something with the IBM logo interests me, particularly if it's NIB and costs $5. I have only the keyboard--if there's a receiver/transmitter unit for it, I haven't found one.

    I've seen web photos of other similar, larger, IBM keyboards, but no hint as to what they were part of. Note that the function keys are labeled F1 through F5, with the remainder with various symbols. There are 12 of them, however, just as on a regular keyboard.

    Didn't IBM float a PS/2 IR keyboard back in the day?

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    Quote Originally Posted by luckybob View Post
    i think it would be funny as frig if it worked with the pcjr.
    lol !!

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    Does anyone have a picture of the IBM Net-Vista Personal Internet Device?

    Compare it to the Compaq MSN Companion which follows much the same basic design guidelines: partial set of function keys, bunch of icon keys, right hand row of navigation, and a pointing device in the upper right corner.
    http://www.wince.ne.jp/review/okamon/img/206.jpg
    Last edited by krebizfan; October 11th, 2017 at 10:33 AM.

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    IBM Netvista Internet Appliance.

    And there it is! From the press blurbs, it seems that the intent was to offer these things to OEMs for integration into their market. Royal Caribbean Cruises and Fidelity Financial were supposed to be the flagship customers, but I suspect the whole affair self-detonated shortly after introduction. Too bad--it reminds me a bit of the iOpener.

    I've never seen the IBM Internet Appliance "in the flesh". They must be uncommon.
    Last edited by Chuck(G); October 11th, 2017 at 12:29 PM.

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    Update

    Well, not being able to find anything on the keyboard, I couldn't resist a challenge. I'm getting very close however.

    A quick check with a scope and a phototransistor showed that it uses a standard 38KHz IR carrier. Good thing--little 3-terminal receivers for this are cheap. Now, what to make of the keyboard encoding.

    Using little STM32F103 board (cheap on ebay--I have a box full of them) and a VS1838B receiver (super cheap--about $0.15 each). I sampled the keyboard signal with a period of 125 microseconds. The bitrate looks to be about 1000 bps. But the encoding is very interesting.

    Press a key, you get a 20 bit stream (first bit always 1, so 19); release it and you get the same code with a couple of bits flipped. Press any key for more than about 100 milliseconds and you get a "repeat" code of 20 bits every 100 milliseconds until the key is released, whereupon you get the 40 bit "release" sequence.

    All keys repeat if held down, even the shift keys.

    Shift+any printing key modifies the sequence somewhat.

    Here are some examples:

    Letter 'a':

    65c33, 25cb3, 2d4a2

    Shift key, pressed and released:

    3e200, 1e240, 2d4a2

    Same "a" , but held down a bit:

    65c33, 2a4ac, 2a4ac, 2a4ac, 2a4ac, 25cb3, 2d4a2

    Shift-"a":

    3e200, 65c33, 25cb3, 1e240, 2d4a2

    Moving the little "joystick" thing produces streams of 60 bit values--I haven't figured those out yet.

    So, progress of a sort. I'll get it figured out and pair it with a little 3/4"x2" Maplie mini, either with USB or PS/2 output; I haven't decided.

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    Decided to have another crack at this and have made considerable progress.

    Turns out that the protocol is N81 at 1200 bps, so all you need to get started is an MCU with a UART and an IR 38KHz sensor (cheap).

    Each key (with an exception for the mouse) sends things two bytes at a time. A "key down" with the high-order bit set pair followed by any "repeat the key that's being held down" pairs, followed by a "key up" pair (same as "key down", but without the high-order bit set. There's also a pair that's sent at the end of a sequence if no keys are up.

    The rule for the pairs is that the second byte contains the high-order 5 bits of the first byte complemented, with the low-order 3 bits the same as the first.

    So, for the "1" key you get the sequence: D1 29 (key down) 51 A9 (key up) 5D A5 (go to idle state). If the "1" key was held down you'd get the same but with 53 AB periodically sent after the key down code until the key was released and the key up code sent.

    Mouse signals (sort of a nipple mouse off to one side) are all 3-byte sequences with no error checks. 3F XX YY with the X-and Y displacements being signed integers repeatedly sent until the mouse stick is released. There are also some colored tabs at the top of the keyboard that send codes in the same manner that the keys operate. All told, there are 98 key/button codes. I have a list if anyone's interested.

    Even though this is a rubber-dome keyboard, the build and feel isn't too bad--and it's very compact. My plan is to use either an AVR (A Mega-8 or ATiny2313 has enough functionality) or wimp out and overkill using a STM32F103 "maple mini" board, of which I happen to have a pile to provide PS/2 protocol.

    I picked my keyboard up new for $5 from Electronics Goldmine, but I've seen them offered new on eBay as well.

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