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This Sarcasm Converter Extends Shift Key Life

This Sarcasm Converter Extends Shift Key Life


Human beings communicate using far more than our words. In addition to the words themselves, we also communicate meaning using tone, gestures, and facial expressions — all of which we lose in written communication. To compensate, we utilize emojis and stylistic elements to convey meaning and intent. For example, we can italicize a word to show that it is really important. But sarcasm is often difficult to project through writing, leading to miscommunication. To ensure that those miscommunications become a thing of the past, Ben Sommerf built this sarcasm converter.

This is a small device that intercepts the text typed on a keyboard and converts it into what the internet agrees is sarcastic: alternating uppercase and lowercase letters in a sentence. This makes the difference between "I love your dress" and "I lOvE yOuR dReSs." The latter works better than an eye roll emoji to make it clear that you actually hate their dress. The problem is that typing like that is a pain, because you have to hold down the shift key for every other letter. There are apps and online converters you can use, but this device works with any standard USB keyboard and any modern computer.

The converter utilizes two Raspberry Pi Pico development boards. The first acts as a USB host device, so it can read the text coming from the keyboard. The second Pico acts as a USB HID keyboard and sends the converted text to a connected computer. In this way, the Sarcasm Converter is very similar to the kinds of devices used for man-in-the-middle attacks. But instead of intercepting key presses for nefarious purposes, this makes every other alpha character a capital. A toggle switch on the top of the device's 3D-printed enclosure lets Sommerf switch to sarcasm mode whenever he is feeling feisty.

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