“Integrated Keyboard and Pointing Device System”

Patent #5124689 (Google Patents) (1992)

  1. “A computer system employs an integrated keyboard and pointing device to allow user input of alpha-numeric (typing) information, pointing direction information and pointing event information without moving the users’ hands from the usual typing position on the keyboard.”
  2. “One of the keyboard keys, called the pointing key, has sensors coupled to it to acquire pointing direction data from lateral displacement of the pointing key.”
  3. “The new system has a typing mode of operation and a pointing mode.”
  4. “One or more of the keys is assigned as a pointing event key, for inputting information which would come from mouse buttons in a segregated system.”

My thoughts:

  • Wow, could #1 explain the TRKBRD in a simpler way?
  • Though, under further examination of the patent, it seems that their idea is more focused on replicating the interaction of the “eraser head” (IBM’s Trackpoint) cursor control device.
  • The patented design uses mechanical means to communicate pointer events such as “tap” and “double-tap”, or, click and double-click. This is a big difference in their patent and my TRKBRD design, which integrates full pointer events into the design and does not rely on any outside mechanical means.
    • This difference proposes a tangent hypothesis, in the human ability to stack physical actions: tapping a physical button. I must admit that tapping on my keyboard is a foreign behavior to me. It is necessary to exercise restraint in emotional moments and tap with exact premeditated motions, less you tap too hard and type the letter key instead.
  • I admit, the patent documentation is quite long and I have not read all of it. It didn’t take too much reading to realize the differences in their patent and my TRKBRD design, or to visualize gaps that I could explore and push through my wedge of originality.
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