Get a grip on your Eee PC with a USB joystick; plus add 16MB of storage, LEDs, and a temperature sensor, all with the same dongle
By Dave Prochnow
July 14, 2008
Have you ever found yourself wishing that your Eee PC had a better trackpad, or maybe even a joystick? Well, the Atmel AVR USB key might be your answer.
Packed inside a thin USB dongle is a micro-sized joystick that can slowly drive your cursor all over your Eee PC's Xandros countryside. Furthermore, the AVR USB key is also equipped with 16MB of data flash storage, a couple of LEDs, and even a temperature sensor. Welcome to the wonderful world of HID (Human Interface Device) technology. Unfortunately, to get the full flavor out of the LEDs and temp sensor, you will have to boot Windows XP on your Eee PC.
Nonetheless, if you want to give a real genuine HID a run for its money on your Eee PC, the AVR USB key offers a great bargain.
1. Plug 'n Point. Boot your Eee PC to its default Xandros OS. Use the provided USB cable to plug the AVR USB key into an available USB port. Use the on-board joystick to navigate around your desktop. Pressing the HWB key on the AVR USB key is equivalent to a left-button mouse click.
2. You're Dismissed. The Eee PC OS will periodically display a "Removable Media" window while you are using the AVR USB key. Dismiss this window, or use it to access the built-in 16MB of data flash storage.
3. My Other PC Is An XP. If you've installed Windows XP on your Eee PC, then you can install the AVR USB key HID demo software under that OS. This software will enable you to gain access to the device's LEDs and temperature sensor.
Once you've outgrown all of this kid stuff, break out the AVR programmer, solder on some thin row .05 pitch headers, and write your own program for the AVR USB key. Then you will go to the HID of the class.