CircuitPython HID Keyboard

One of the things we baked into CircuitPython is 'HID' control - Keyboard and Mouse capabilities. This means a Circuit Playground Express can act like a keyboard device and press keys, or a mouse and have it move the mouse around and press buttons. This is really handy because even if you cannot adapt your software to work with hardware, there's almost always a keyboard interface - so if you want to have a capacitive touch interface for a game, say, then keyboard emulation can often get you going really fast!

You'll need to install the driver bundle which comes with Keyboard, Keycode and Mouse support

Then try running this example code which will set the Circuit Playground Express Button_A and Button_B as HID keyboard "keys".

# CircuitPlaygroundExpress_HIDKeyboard

import time

import board
from adafruit_hid.keyboard import Keyboard
from adafruit_hid.keyboard_layout_us import KeyboardLayoutUS
from adafruit_hid.keycode import Keycode
from digitalio import DigitalInOut, Direction, Pull

# A simple neat keyboard demo in circuitpython

# The button pins we'll use, each will have an internal pulldown
buttonpins = [board.BUTTON_A, board.BUTTON_B]
# our array of button objects
buttons = []
# The keycode sent for each button, will be paired with a control key
buttonkeys = [Keycode.A, "Hello World!\n"]
controlkey = Keycode.SHIFT

# the keyboard object!
# sleep for a bit to avoid a race condition on some systems
kbd = Keyboard()
# we're americans :)
layout = KeyboardLayoutUS(kbd)

# make all pin objects, make them inputs w/pulldowns
for pin in buttonpins:
    button = DigitalInOut(pin)
    button.direction = Direction.INPUT
    button.pull = Pull.DOWN

led = DigitalInOut(board.D13)
led.direction = Direction.OUTPUT

print("Waiting for button presses")

while True:
    # check each button
    # when pressed, the LED will light up,
    # when released, the keycode or string will be sent
    # this prevents rapid-fire repeats!
    for button in buttons:
        if button.value:  # pressed?
            i = buttons.index(button)
            print("Button #%d Pressed" % i)

            # turn on the LED
            led.value = True

            while button.value:
                pass  # wait for it to be released!
            # type the keycode or string
            k = buttonkeys[i]  # get the corresp. keycode/str
            if isinstance(k, str):
      , k)  # press...
                kbd.release_all()  # release!

            # turn off the LED
            led.value = False


Press Button A or Button B to have the keypresses sent.

The Keyboard and Layout object are created, we only have US right now (if you make other layouts please submit a GitHub pull request!)

# the keyboard object!
kbd = Keyboard()
# we're americans :)
layout = KeyboardLayoutUS(kbd)

Then you can send key-down's with, ...) You can have up to 6 keycode presses at once. Note that these are keycodes so if you want to send a capital A, you need both SHIFT and A. Don't forget to call kbd.release_all() soon after or you'll have a stuck key which is really annoying!

You can also send full strings, with layout.write("Hello World!\n") - it will use the layout to determine the keycodes to press.

For more detail check out the documentation at
Last updated on Apr 24, 2018 Published on Oct 12, 2017