This keyboard is so small it doesn't have a spacebar... how the hell do I jump?

The Raspberry Pi Pico and arbitrary keyboard
(Image credit: Raspberry Pi)
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You've heard of a 60% keyboard, and even a 40% keyboard, but this PiPi Gherkin mechanical keyboard—powered by the itty bitty Raspberry Pi Pico (opens in new tab)—is really pushing it. Being a full time writer, any less than the full 104 keys is a challenge for me; this keyboard (opens in new tab) has just 30. 

Sitting comfortably?

(Image credit: Secretlab)

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How anyone can use a 30% keyboard is just beyond me.

Each key is full size, which at least gives it some semblance of utility, but without a backspace, return key, or even a dedicated spacebar, this little thing would terrify even the most veteran small-form typist. 

Hackaday writer, Donald Papp, urges us not to be disheartened by the sparsity of keys, though, saying: "It has more functionality than it would seem to at first glance." Rather than using a function key combo, the bottom row has "dual function tap/hold keys," meaning technically there is a spacebar—according to some helpful commenters it's mapped to the right arrow key for some reason.

Of course, the whole thing is fully re-mappable. With the use of 'layer states,' changing the 'default layer' means it's possible to switch between Dvorak, Colemak or Workman layouts quite readily. And by programming individual layer states you can "overlay the base layer with other functions," according to the github explainer (opens in new tab) at least.

There are certainly less useful keyboards (opens in new tab) out there, but I'm still not convinced I could get any work done with the PiPi Gherkin. Though as Papp notes, "For some applications, smaller is better." 

You keep telling yourself that, bud. 

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been demystifying tech and science—rather sarcastically—for two years since. She can be found admiring AI advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. She's been heading the PCG Steam Deck content hike, while waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.