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In this early demo by Douglas Engelbart, he uses a 5 key chorded keyboard and a mouse.

And I started to think about the idea with a chorded keyboard, and I started to wonder what I would need to play with this idea.

And since the most logic and affordable keyboard that is able to handle chords is a music keyboard with some kind of midi interface (usb midi?).

Akai LPK25

Is it possible to map a usb midi keyboard so it would output "ascii characters"? Maybe simulate a Braille keyboard?

More or less can I write a normal text document with the usb midi keyboard on my Linux computer in the same way as he uses his chorded keyboard in the demo?

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+1 This is a fun idea! – iglvzx Jun 6 '12 at 18:49

Of course it's possible. The MIDI port is simply a modified (different frequency clock) serial port. Each pressed or released key (among other actions) generates an event which is transmitted to the PC. An ad-hoc driver could interpret the key-press event and emulate a char input just as it's done in barcode scanners. There are many examples of "chorded keyboards" Wikipedia

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