Kobo sells a line of devices with E Ink displays that are designed for reading eBooks. But since Kobo eReaders have a USB port and Linux-based software, of course people have found ways to hack the devices for use in other ways.

One recent example? Kobowriter is a free and open source tool that lets you connect a USB keyboard to a Kobo eReader so you can use it as a portable E Ink typewriter.

The project installs a modified kernel (developed as part of the XCSoar project) that allows a Kobo eReader’s USB port to accept keyboard input. It also installs the Kobowriter software, which lets you create and edit text documents.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • With these modifications installed, you can still use a Kobo device as an eReader. But there’s an intermediate step – when you turn on a Kobo device, you’ll see the XCSoar launcher application that lets you choose whether to run Kobo software, Kobowriter, or something else.
  • You’ll have to disable USB-OTG (the feature that lets you use a keyboard) if you want to use the stock Kobo software to read eBooks. But you can always re-enable it when it’s time to type.
  • Kobo devices will not output any power over the USB port, so you’ll need to use a keyboard that draws power from its own batteries or another source.
  • The developer notes that Kobowriter has only been built and tested for the Kobo Glo HD and only supports a French keyboard layout at the moment. But since it’s open source software, anyone can tweak the code and work on modifications for additional Kobo devices and/or languages.

You can find more details at the GitHub page for Kobowriter.

via Hacker News

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,544 other subscribers

One reply on “Kobowriter turns a Kobo ereader into an E Ink typewriter (open source software)”

Comments are closed.