Picodeck controls your computer with your feet

Colin Edwards wanted to get all four limbs involved to enhance his livestreams. He built Picodeck to free up his hands by giving his feet jobs to do.

picodeck on a keyboard with a computer screen behind it showing elgato streaming deck functions
Configuring the pedal to perform certain Elgato Stream Deck functions

The goal was to create something affordable that is compatible with Elgato’s Stream Deck. If you haven’t heard of a stream deck, it makes it easier to do things you might want to do while you’re live streaming, like adjusting audio settings, adding lower thirds of text, making GIFs pop up and so on, by putting a lot of frequently used functionality at your fingertips. This frees you up to concentrate on the video game your viewers are watching you play, or applying the make-up you’re talking through as a tutorial.

A pedal for your metal feet

Colin had seen Elgato’s own-brand Stream Deck Pedal, which is designed to further streamline your live content output by letting you access a lot of functionality completely hands-free. But he wanted to experiment by making his own using Raspberry Pi Pico.

picodeck showing white LEDs on a carpeted floor
Picodeck is most at home on the floor

NB This pedal for use with an Elgato is not to be confused with legato pedalling, which has something to do with pianos.

How is it made?

There’s a Pico inside running the show, and an Adafruit NeoPixel ring just for gorgeousness I think. Simple switches tell the Pico when the user presses a particular pedal, and the Pico then tells the Elgato Stream Deck what functionality the user wants. Colin followed this tutorial from Adafruit showing you how to make a three-button foot switch. The tutorial helpfully includes the design files you need to 3D print the enclosure.

inside the picodeck showing a raspberry pi pico and adafruit neopixel ring

Software-wise, the protocol from the Adafruit tutorial mostly matched up with what the Stream Deck is expecting, with just a few tweaks needed to make the pedal communicate with it. The maker’s GitHub features everything you need to build your own Picodeck and get it up and running with an Elgato Stream Deck.

Inspiring more Picodeck makers

We came across Colin’s almost year-old project thanks to a recent Mastodon post by Notch Rhino, whom it inspired to make their own. Theirs is also built around a Raspberry Pi Pico, along with what looks to be the same 3D-printed enclosure. The entire thing (pictured below) cost just $7 to build and the maker is very happy with the performance, despite the fragility of the materials; if anything breaks, they’re more than happy to replace any one of the super-affordable parts. A bargain considering official Elgato pedals retail for around $90.

Now, who is going to find me the word which means “ambidextrous” but you’re also dextrous with your hands and feet at the same time?

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