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Project Mammoth

A successor to the elephant42, 🦣 by @illness072 is on a whole new level in many ways.

KBD.news
Published June 17, 2022

The mammoth 🦣 by かわいい🐰ちゃん aka @illness072, successor to his characteristic elephant42, features a slight splay combined with Willow curves – and has the controllers outsourced to the palm rests.

So the actual name of the board is simply 🦣 rather than mammoth or mammoth42.

Despite this keyboard was developed as a successor to the elephant42 and as such was originally planned to be released as mammoth42, unrelated keyboard projects with similar names emerged during the development phase, and it seemed awkward to keep the mammoth name with all those models around.

However, we could not give up our desire to use mammoth as a companion to elephant, so we decided to give it this name [🦣] – @illness072.

Pic:

Forever WIP

I don't usually feature work-in-progress boards on this blog but after having a nice chat with designer Kawaii?chan it turned out being WIP is part of the concept in this case:

Project Mammoth is an attempt to continuously grow over a long period of time, and is being developed with the concept of enjoying being unfinished altogether. The goal is very fluid, depending on my interests and trends in the keyboard community (especially in Japan), and it will take a few more years to reach the goal I have in mind at this point – @illness072.

Features

The layout is based on the classic columnar stagger of the 🐘, adjusted to open slightly and "fused with the curved lines of Willow".

We've seen the Willow layout on various keyboards (e.g. Yamada Willow, Ergotonic F-24, etc.) but this is the first time I see it combined with a slight splay.

The palm rest is integrated and has a reversed tent angle(!). "This allows for a natural placement of the keys in the flat direction, as if the wrist were tented while the keys are pressed in."

(To be honest, I can't really imagine how this works and how this kind of tenting copes with forearm pronation. Probably, we have to factor in the differences in human hands and never underestimate the power of prototyping and iteration while tailoring a tool to ones hands. What works for one may not work for the other.)

Pic:

At the time of writing this, the Mammoth works as a USB HID device with Pro Micro or as BLE HID with ISP1807micro and CR2032 battery.

The current prototype seen in the photos is equipped with Seeed XIAO BLE controllers and can operate as a fully wireless keyboard.

The ? had placed the Pro Micro in a prominent position, but we felt this would detract from the aesthetics. Therefore, 🦣 hid the daughterboard inside the palm rest.

The palm rest is connected to the main board by 9.5mm stainless steel pipes sold at home centers:

Pic:

The main board accommodates only the I/O expander (MCP23017) and the key matrix, which is controlled by communicating with the palm rest via I2C.

Pic:

Files

Github repo: https://github.com/illness072/project-mammoth

Published on Fri 17th Jun 2022. Featured in KBD #83.


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