Tech

A YouTuber resurrected T9 typing with this DIY mini keyboard

Finally, you can relive the glory days of predictive text.

There’s lots to be nostalgic about when it comes to old mobile phones. You’ve got varied form factors, clickable keyboards, and of course...

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T9 predictive text.

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For those under the age of 26, T9 was a kind of first-gen predictive text technology (similar to those words that appear above your texts in iMessage) that helped people quickly form full words and sentences using the limiting 10-digit keypad that came equipped on mobile phones of yore.

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While T9 is obviously no longer necessary with today’s more precise touchscreen tech and adaptive full keyboard array there’s still something so nostalgic and alluring about the sensation of carving out words with clickable buttons. If only there were some way to satiate that fix...

🎥: Guy Dupont on YouTube

Enter Guy Dupont’s newest DIY build.

In Dupont’s latest video, the coder / modder brings T9 back to life with this standalone keyboard that can be paired with a computer or any machine with USB input. Using just one hand, you can cycle through frequently used words just like you would using one of those chunky plastic flip phones from the early 2000s.

Technical details of how Dupont made the board are slim (he said the full rundown will be revealed late this month), but from an initial preview the device looks incredibly simple.

Dupont says anyone interested in making their own T9 keyboard can do so (without soldering) using a Raspberry Pi Pico and a generic phone keypad for a grand total of...

$15

The requisite parts can be purchased for around $15.

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Dupont is also working on free software that will let people upload their own customized words that can be loaded into the keyboard’s dictionary in seconds, though that will likely be released when the second technical video drops later this month.

While this DIY tool might never bring T9 back for good, it’s certainly a functional and easy way to relive your former predictive text glory and, eventually, Dupont says he might send a few of his out to those who either need or want them, so keep your eyes peeled and your fingers ready.