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My favorite Seeed-entrants

This is a subjective list of my favorite projects submitted to the Seeed keyboard competition.

Tamas Dovenyi
Published November 25, 2022

!!! These are not the official results of the competition but simply my list of favorite projects !!!

As I indicated earlier, Seeed Studio reached out to me to jury the entrants of their recent keyboard competition. I reviewed 34 projects last weekend, made a second round of evaluation on Monday, and sent my ranking and notes to Seeed.

Which is not the official or final order with the winners, since my list will be blended with Seeed's in-house list I guess, and some community indices may be factored in as well (upvotes, likes, whatever on different platforms).

That's why I wanted to list my favorites in this quick post.

My evaluation method

To be able to rank these various keyboard projects as objectively as possible, I came up with a simple scoring system involving factors like: usability/usefulness, repeatability (open source), uniqueness/originality, quality of the documentation and media provided, etc.

Since we are talking about the XIAO controller family with 11 available GPIO pins, many users made small macropads and meishis. Which is all good, I'll list some of the more interesting ones at the end of this post, but I wouldn't choose a macropad as a winner if we have a handful of 60% keyboards and splits with the potential to serve you as a daily driver (usefulness).

Similarly, it was very hard to compete with a closed-source project (repeatability).


I want to note that any of the first five (or even more) projects below could have been chosen as the final winner.

Two of them scored the maximum points from me and three of them only one point less. So I made some shared places. In fact, I sent Seeed 10 projects for the first 5 places. :D

As I can see, the final ranking by Seeed involves even more shared places so there might be as much as six winners eventually. But again, this is not official.



Marc's low-profile (2x)19 key ergo split with 3-key thumb clusters, pinky splay, scored the same points as some other runner-ups. I had to choose a winner so the deciding factor was the extra time and effort put into making the photos. Otherwise: Useful repo and classy, unique case. Everything is nicely documented and open source.

This is a split keyboard many of us could use as a daily driver right out of the box.

It was already featured on

#2 Purple owl by Sonal Pinto


This project was featured on in August. Well documented open-source uniformly staggered keyboard. Maybe not the most reasonable physical layout, but undeniably original, cool design, and implements a scan chain (61 keys), demonstrating that XIAO controllers, despite their limited number of pins, can be used for quite large keyboards.

And – as a couple of other projects – its documentation references! ;) Which wasn't an evaluation factor but was nice to see every time.

#3 (shared) BeyBlock by Christian Lo


A unique magnetic system, open source, already featured on (KBD#92) and gathering 9K upvotes on r/mk. ;) Undeniably one of the most intuitive projects with regards to modularity.

#3 (shared) KLEIN by Shashank


Another cool and usable open-source ergo split already featured on (KBD#100). Really, I had to decide somehow, and the only thing I could take into account was often the difference between the quality of photos and the overall presentation of the project.

#3 (shared) Grin Quern by policium


You know I have a penchant for these monoblock splits. Policium used an IO expander to handle the required number of keys. This is a great project and made it to the shared 3rd place on my list even without the source files shared. Other than that: reference to :D, and it was already featured as well (KBD#98).

Runner-ups on my list

Cr0wn60 by ADeL


Another relatively big layout (60%) which uses a square matrix – with reference to the exotic matrix series on Again, this was nice to see but wasn't a deciding factor. ;)

Pica40 by zzeneg


Another nice split ergo already featured on (KBD#102).

M65 by Alinelena


A huge ortho with Lego frame, shift registers (hybrid matrix) and source files. Actually, more than one entries.

Kidoairaku Swallowtail by yswallow


Another monoblock split, but I could find source files.

Tiny20 by Lorenzo


A cute 20-key (2x10) chording split.

Xobdox by xquinx


Already featured.

Kretstrad by wj-zhe


Already featured.

arachnophobe by Sadek Baroudi


While undoubtedly cool-looking, with the arachnophobe we arrive at the less usable keyboards since Sadek used a classic matrix thus only 30 keys were available. I'm not sure I would get rid of the same keys if I had to.


As already told, most of the entrants were macropads. Some of the more interesting ones:

Ent4Space by Salicylic-acid


Salicylic-acid's macropad experiment with some awesome features (sense) and strange 2xSpacebar + 2xISO Enter layout. :D

Meishi by etalli


A tiny meishi (businesscard-sized macropad) with "accessibility extension". Which is a jack connector to host an extra key. :D

Shortcut keyboard by Julian Becker


With a display indicating layers and functions.

BTMS by yishii


A stylish "Back to the Meeting" switch/encoder.


That was my list of some cool entries I wanted to highlight. This competition inspired a lot of great projects and introduced the tiny XIAO controllers to the larger public of DIY keyboard enthusiasts/makers.

It turned out these little controllers are perfect for splits, but with some ingenuity larger boards are possible too.

Published on Fri 25th Nov 2022. Featured in KBD #104.

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