Easy Program Launcher
The Easy Program Launcher is a project for the Teensy USB Development Board. It is based on the AWESOME Button by Matt Richardson. A project for the Arduino IDE, using the Teensyduino software add-on, provides software to emulate a keyboard and send key commands to a personal computer that cause an application to be launched. Designed to be embedded within an Easy Button from Staples, the key commands are sent when the Easy Button is pressed.
Both the Windows and Linux operating systems are supported by the Easy Program Launcher. A switch hidden in the Easy Button's battery compartment is used to select the desired operating system. This illustration, made with the Fritzing project documentation software, shows how the components are connected to the Teensy from a breadboard:
Here is the Teensy connected with the Easy Button and slide switch for an initial circuit test:
The Easy Program Launcher connects to a personal computer with a USB cable and acts like a special purpose keyboard. When the button is pressed, and Windows mode is enabled, 'WinKey+R' is sent to the computer, followed by the name of a Windows batch file to be executed. When Linux mode is enabled, 'Alt+F2' is send to the computer, followed by the name of a script to be executed.
The default name for the batch file to be executed on Windows is 'easylauncher.bat', and the default name for the script to be executed on Linux is 'easylauncher.sh'. Files with these names must be located within the user's path for the Easy Program Launcher to work. The content of these files may be customized to launch any program or execute any commands desired. This screen shot shows the Easy Program Launcher working on Windows 7:
For more information regarding the motivation behind this project, and a description of how the Easy Button was modified to house the Easy Program Launcher, see my blog post entitled The Making of an Easy Program Launcher Button.
Building Your Own Easy Program Lacunher
Source code for the Arduino IDE and schematics for the Fritzing project documentation software to help you build your own Easy Program Launcher are freely available, distributed under the terms of the open source MIT License. You can find all of the relevant files in my Arduino projects repository hosted by GitHub: