Turn your iPad into a typewriter

Here's a fun gadget that I totally don't need: a USB typewriter that will turn an iPad into a fake piece of paper. From Wired's Gadget Lab:
It holds an iPad in its carriage whilst simultaneously inputting typed letters. All it needs is a Bluetooth component to replace the cable, and a writing app that can use the accelerometer to detect a carriage return and move you to a new line. Ding!

Inside there is a sensor strip under the keyboard which detects the key-presses that hit it, and this pulse of electricity is then passed on to an Arduino circuit-board whereupon it is translated into a standard USB key-down event. All you need to do is plug it in and type.

$400 buys you a pre-modded typewriter, but Jack Zylkin, the man behind the USBTypewriter, will sell you the electronics to make your own for just $75, or you can send him your typewriter and have him fix it up for you. For true geeks, the design can be had for free under a Creative Commons license and you can roll your own from scratch.

Product page


  1. Next someone should make an app wherein you can feed your ipad into an actual typewriter and it will input text based on what typebars hit it. Of course then you’d have ink all over your ipad.

  2. I want it the other way around – I type on my iPad and characters are printed on paper by tiny hammers.

  3. So… it’s a typewriter turned into a USB keyboard. Got it. It seems like this happens with a lot of new gadgets. Someone makes what is essentially a peripheral, but as soon as they plug it into something popular, suddenly it’s a worthy story.

  4. It’s a passive mod (a metal strip makes contact with the key striker) , so this is much less destructive than say, the steampunk keyboards..

    What bothers me, though is the guy has trademarked USB typewriterâ„¢ which I fear may become a Monster over time in litigation.

    1. I was thinking the same thing when I saw this. Why use an iPad? Just hook up the typewriter and put a Fresnel lens in front of your iPhone to get the full effect.

  5. I get a huge kick out of anything that brings old tech or gadgets, back to us in USB form… Like the LP player… Amazing stuff!

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