This project is very simple in concept, but might be complicated by the Brother keyboard protocol, we'll see when we get there.
It is exemplary of what the Reactron network is for. It is life augmentation, arising from a "workflow interruption" that presented itself by chance. The other day I grabbed the wrong box of stuff, but it looked like the right box. I found out only after I had reached my destination, which was nowhere near the right box (i.e., in a different city). The reason for this mistake is that I have lots of boxes of stuff, and very little time to label them. I almost never grab the wrong box, because they are transparent - so theoretically I can see what is inside and not need labeling.
I have now disproven that theory conclusively.
So I thought, the right thing to do would be to just buy a label maker, and turn it into a robot that makes labels when I ask it. I don't want to spend time typing into the horrible little interface, I just want to say "Make a label that says 'whatever'", maybe with some arguments or parameters, like "all caps" etc. Voice recognition is certainly good enough to parse my language on a Linux SBC, so with that text in digital form at that point, all that remains is to get those bytes to the label maker over RF.
The idea is to simply emulate the keyboard, and make the simplest text-only labels possible. I don't need any of the graphical frames or artistic flourishes the unit comes with, I just want the text. I see sixteen contacts from the keyboard circuit board, so maybe it should not be too hard to figure out what is going on.
I did touch the cable, nothing happened, I was quite disappointed.
I will probably also replace the batteries with a LiPo (I will have to see what I can spec, there is a motor to run), and a charging circuit, so it can just stay plugged in and online all the time, but it will allow me to go handheld if I need. But if I can't find a good enough rechargeable cell (it needs to physically just fit in the case) then I will just go ahead and power it off AC with a switching DC supply. It's much more important to me that the label maker is online when I need it, rather than me being able to run around with it.
One additional possible modification is to add one more motor, to trigger the label cutter. Otherwise I will be limited to printing one label at a time, or printing several and then using scissors to separate them. Either way, not terrible. I guess I better decide on this mod first, because if I have to spec a motor, it will have a bearing on the LiPo I will need. The two motors would not run at the same time, but I think the cutter will require more torque than the label advance motor, so it would become the limiting factor.
I think I may have just talked myself out of the cutter mod.