An Old-School Control Panel For Your Computer

An Old-School Control Panel For Your Computer

For as long as computers have been in the hands of programmers, they have offered frequent mildly tedious tasks that their operators have sought to automate. Who hasn’t written a shell script or a batch file that unites a string of commands into one just to save a bit of typing?

But even that effort can be reduced with a hardware add-on that ties the script to a physical control, and in this endeavor [Tomas] has created a beauty. His control panel project mimics the robust industrial panels of yesteryear with an array of metal buttons and toggle switches in a sturdy metal case sourced from an old KVM switch.

Behind the scenes are a pair of I/O extenders and a NodeMCU board, whose ESP8266 does the talking to the host computer on which a daemon awaits its call. Individual addressable LEDs next to each switch convey the state of operation, and the switches trigger useful operations such as connecting to a VPN. All the code is available in a handy GitHub repository, and you can see it in action in the video we’ve placed below the break.

We rather like the idea of a desktop control panel here at Hackaday, indeed this isn’t the first one we’ve brought you.