DIYer uses tiny screens to bring Lego terminals and human keyboards to life

@ancient_james's lego terminal
(Image credit: James Brown)

We've seen a bunch of cool DIY terminals lately. From this Pi powered Palmtop to this retro circular screen machine. All of these designs are very cute, but this next DIY project has resulted in one of the teensy adorable little terminals I've come across.

Tech tinkerer James Brown shared one of his recent experiments on Twitter which shows off a little monitor screen working on a tiny Lego piece. The display is designed to mimic the Lego terminal pieces that slant downwards and have designs painted on them. 

In this case, the screen is actually behind a transparent blue piece for now. Brown uses these tiny and affordable controllable OLEDs to make it mimic the various old Lego control pieces. One example has block text scrolling and lights flashing, and another shows a moving circular radar. 

It would be especially neat to see some of these with bespoke Lego piece designs. They already look very cool, and present a vast amount of opportunities for future Lego screen mods. In fact, these tiny screens have plenty of other applications and Brown is already playing with some of them.

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Another Twitter thread features a keyboard that he's working on which has a screen behind every key. It sounds like an expensive endeavour but thanks to the affordability of these screens it may not be too bad. In most examples Brown has them displaying letters, and in one case they visibly change two and from capitals when the caps lock is pushed.

In theory it could be an easy way to change the visible keyboard layout, or set image buttons for games and macros. They could potentially be paired with neat artisan keycaps for even more visual effect. Or just lots of screens, kind of like a whole keyboard made of a DIY Stream Deck, which sounds pretty damn useful. 

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This could lead to some seriously next level RGB, especially if all the keys are programmable in tangent. Hopefully they can take the punishment of having fingers constantly bashing them into a board if gamers are going to have any use for them. Still these look like some wonderfully fun DIY projects with tonnes of potential. Or maybe we'll just see more cute Lego consoles like this PSP. I think we'll be seeing these tiny OLEDs pop up in a few more projects around the place. 

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast right here.

No, she’s not kidding.