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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)

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—is really pushing it. Being a full time writer, any less than the full 104 keys is a challenge for me; this keyboard 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 at least.

There are certainly less useful keyboards 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

Katie is a confessed logophile with a love of metaphor and an insatiable creative urge. She's also an RPG, sim and survival game enthusiast who harbours an overt disdain for MMOs, un-managed cables and software that doesn't include a dark mode.