External keyboard for iPhone from our own iPhone Hacks–no jailbreaking needed!

Computers & Mobile Technology
External keyboard for iPhone from our own iPhone Hacks–no jailbreaking needed!

iPhone Hacks

The authors of the brand new iPhone Hacks have posted one of the coolest hacks from the book: using a Cypress PSoC to connect an external serial keyboard to the iPhone, without jailbreaking. The great thing about this hack is that it can be adapted for other serial devices, including TTL serial, and the authors show you how to do all this in Chapter 12 of the book. It’s amazing stuff. I built the circuit myself to test it out when I was tech-editing the chapter, and it really blew me away:

A number of industrious individuals have achieved what to some is the holy grail of iPhone accessories: an iPhone keyboard. But most have done it in a very hard-to-repeat manner, and few have shared the methods they used.

Expanding on their audio port modem, PerceptDev engineers Zack Gainsforth and George Dean developed a hardware and software solution that allows infrared keyboards to be used for typing on the iPhone, using less than $20 of electronics.

Zack used a Cypress PSoC microcontroller to emulate a simple modem, and then expanded it to detect an infrared signal or read from a USB host controller, which converts this signal to FSK for transmission to an iPhone.

iPhone Keyboard – no Jailbreaking required, using 2.0 SDK. [Check out the coverage on ars technica, Gizmodo, Hack a Day, TUAW, and Wired]


iPhone Hacks by David Jurick, Adam Stolarz, Damien Stolarz
Our Price: $34.99
With iPhone Hacks, you can make your iPhone do all you’d expect of a smartphone — and more. Learn tips and techniques to unleash little-known features, find and create innovative applications for both the iPhone and iPod touch, and unshackle these devices to run everything from network utilities to video game emulators. iPhone Hacks is exactly what you need to make the most of your iPhone.

6 thoughts on “External keyboard for iPhone from our own iPhone Hacks–no jailbreaking needed!

  1. Dale Wheat says:

    You can get these Targus keyboards surplus from BG Micro in Dallas (bgmicro.com) for $4.95 :


    Very nice job of interfacing to the iPhone!

    1. rhubarb says:

      I have an ancient original folding keyboard for a palm V – I used it once and its been sitting in a drawer for about 8 years now since the connectors changed on later palms.
      Kills me to throw it away, not because it cost me $100 at the time, but because its such a beautifully built piece of hardware.
      Is there any chance this hack would make it work on my iPhone?
      Note that it’s not IR – it connected directly to the port on the old Palm V

  2. Ronnie says:

    iphone hacks and iphone accessories are all ways of letting your iphone into the modern technology of easabilty and usabilty. Ranging from external keyboards to external cameras with all these new plug and play materials your phone would really become a smart-phone.
    Ronnie Williams

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I'm a tinkerer and finally reached the point where I fix more things than I break. When I'm not tinkering, I'm probably editing a book for Maker Media.

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