This Physical Knob Lets You Scroll Through Your Personal Tab Hell

DIY geniuses came up with a solution to having too many browser tabs open using a 3D printer and an Arduino board.
May 1, 2019, 4:31pm
this knob lets you scroll through tabs
Screengrab: YouTube/Fully Automated Channel

This morning, I got curious about the origins of manufactured kibble. Soon, I was looking up the ingredients in the food I buy for my own dog. Now, I’m watching a cooking show hosted by a dog and I want to make cheesecake. It happened again: I have way too many tabs open.

Now, a hardware solution—submitted to Hackaday by a user called “Zoé” and covered on the Hackaday blog—can help tab hoarders like me. The device is called WebTuner, and it’s a physical knob connected to an Arduino board that plugs into your computer’s USB port to easily scroll through your own personal browser tab hell. Great!

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Zoé and another creator, called “Elen” on Hackaday, worked together to put together WebTuner. Source code and a 3D model of the knob and laptop mount are available on Github, if you want to make your own.

A YouTube video walks through the process of creating the WebTuner. It’s fairly involved, speaking as someone who has never used an Arduino before. I imagine I will have to open a lot of tabs to Google the steps as I go through it, without a WebTuner to help me.

“This seemingly pointless thing turned out to be actually useful, and I catch myself using it unironically since then,” Zoé wrote on a Hackaday project page describing the build. ”I can work on something, have the browser be open on a different screen, and with the WebTuner I can switch tabs without my main application ever losing focus.”

If you don’t have the skill or patience to create your own physical knob, you could try your luck with third-party extensions that let you use the scroll wheel on your mouse to flick through tabs. (Use your judgement before downloading browser extensions, as some extensions can compromise your privacy and security).

My strategy for browser tab hell is a little simpler, and safer. Once I’ve open so many tabs that I no longer have any clue about what they contain, I just mass close them all. And then I’m free.

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