Build your own extra keyboard for video conferences

Have you ever had a coughing fit in a video conference and did not hit the little icon for the microphone mute with the mouse because of the loud coughing? The keyboard command for this is cryptic and must be typed in with both hands. Or did you have to quickly deactivate the camera because a crying child stormed into the room? An additional keyboard would be a blessing here, with large and easy-to-hit keys that send even the most cryptic keyboard shortcuts to an application in a fraction of a second.

Using the example of an extension keyboard for Microsoft Teams we will show you how you can easily build and program such a useful quick switch yourself with the Raspberry Pico. In our example project we use the keyboard shortcuts for functions such as hold hands, Switch video and Switch microphone. The Raspberry Pico comes in the easy-to-learn language Python programmed so that it is easy to adapt to other applications and will be explained later in the article.

All we need is a Raspberry Pico with it Circuit Python, a USB cable, buttons to connect to the Pico, a case and some tinkering time. If you don’t like soldering, you can also build the whole thing on a breadboard, here you just have to see how the buttons are connected. Either you use buttons that are already provided with cables or buttons that can be plugged onto the breadboard. This method is ideal, especially for testing whether you need such a keyboard, because the components and the Pico are ready for other purposes in minutes.

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