Laptop control box provides speedy access to apps

If you need to quickly launch certain apps on your MacBook Pro, Carl Gordon has your solution using an Arduino Nano.

Although the TV ads for your notebook computer would perhaps have you believe that everyone who uses it is a DJ, artist, or rock climber, chances are you just use it for a handful of programs and folders over and over. If this sounds like you, you can at least speed up access to them using Gordon’s “Laptop Control Box.”

As seen below, the box acts as a grid of shortcuts to your favorite applications, with a button to select sets of programs and an embedded RGB LED module to show you which set is active without having to look at the screen. Control on the computer side is accomplished with Processing, and though it might look like its window needs to be active in the video, it can work in the background as well.

This version currently gives me to access 24 different functions which are divided into six categories of four functions for ease of use, these categories include: tools, media, browser, utilities, social and lifestyle. Categories can be navigated through using the small button on the side and each category is visualized with a unique color by an RGB LED within the device, illuminating the plastic buttons from underneath.

Check out how to make this handy little gadget in Gordon’s Instructables write-up here.

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