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Rotary cell-phone keypad

Human-sized keypad for micro-sized cell phones.
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
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against]

Why not make a round cell phone keypad with one big wheel that spins. The wheel has a depression that fits a human-sized finger. As you spin the wheel around it displays the current "number" on the LCD, and can even say the number audibally through the speaker/ringer. The wheel has detents every 24 degrees allowing 15 different "input" choices, or more if you want. Just press the key in to make your selection as you go.

That way, instead of the little keys so common on most phones that are just too small, you have one big key that's easier to use. It also frees up PCB space, and reduces components like LEDs, etc.

amechengineer, Feb 15 2002

i-Drive on new BMW 7-series http://www.bmw.com/...14/3_a91_idrive.jsp
Single rotary control for oodles of features. i-drive, iPod: coincidence?? [quarterbaker, Feb 15 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Retro Cell Phone http://www.halfbake...etro_20Cell_20Phone
[hippo, Feb 18 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       This seems like it would be hard to use. At least for me.
bristolz, Feb 15 2002
  

       I've seen similar rotary dial input devices (most notably on synths like the Yahama SY-77). They work fine, but in those cases you turn the dial with your hand (all your fingers). Operating a rotating dial with just one finger would be awkward and actually introduces an additional step into the action. As it is now, operating a phone is essentially "push button, push button...etc.". With this device, it becomes "turn dial, push button, turn dial, push button...etc." Not easier.   

       I don't know about most people, but I operate my cell phone with one hand only, holding it in that hand and pressing buttons with my thumb.
waugsqueke, Feb 15 2002
  

       Using a single, rotary control seems to have some usability advantages. Witness the iPod. And there's a high-end auto - BMW, maybe? - that has a single rotary control that serves over a hundred different functions. It was well-reviewed by Car & Driver, among others, including usability design experts.

If the rotary control had a fingertip sized dimple, it would be easier to control with one finger. It could cycle between alpha characters quickly, making text entry faster than with the numeric keypad.

One single control for the phone. I like it. Croissant.
quarterbaker, Feb 15 2002
  

       I'm sure we've done this one before, but it's been deleted...
StarChaser, Feb 16 2002
  

       Why not just have a very large touch senestive lcd screen. solves all the problems and a lot more adaptable.
CasaLoco, Feb 16 2002
  

       Touchscreens must be looked at for operation to an extent greater than rotary controls like those described here (though they too must be looked at if care is not taken in the design).   

       What would particularly enhance the concept, though, would be the inclusion of a small stepper motor with switchable shunting transistors. The motor wouldn't actually be driven, and thus would not require any power, but the shunting transistors would allow the processor to control the existence of perceived detents and "end stops". A control which consisted of a single knob that could be pushed or pulled while gripped between thumb and index finger could be designed pretty well for no-eyes use.
supercat, Feb 17 2002
  

       // . . . allow the processor to control the existence of perceived detents and "end stops." //   

       Dynamic haptic feedback in a rotary control? Is this done now, or is this something you dreamed up? Is this how some jog/shuttle controls in good VCRs provide their "feel?"
bristolz, Feb 17 2002
  

       virtual detents --- cool idea. (wouldn't a normal (non- stepper) motor work better for this?) I think that producing end-stops would require power, though.
wiml, Feb 18 2002
  

       Virtual detents YaY! <off to drawing board>
neelandan, Feb 18 2002
  

       I know that Americans only use their phones to TALK, but with a rotary dial, HOW THE HELL am I gonna send text messages, browse WAP, compose ringtones, and (most of all) PLAY SNAKE???
net_addict, Feb 18 2002
  

       The Roland GT-5 uses a rotary dial with a finger-tip-sized dent to scroll through a menu; the current selection is shown on a fluoro display, and is acted upon by one or more buttons.
angel, Feb 18 2002
  

       See "Retro Cell Phone" (link added) where much of this has been covered before. Then see the parody Apple iPod link from there.
hippo, Feb 18 2002
  

       The i-drive thingy on the BMW 7-series does have the forced-feedback and virtual detents as described by supercat. Just FYI.
quarterbaker, Feb 18 2002
  

       A trackball could be used as a rotary control, and to play Snake.
pottedstu, Feb 18 2002
  

       wiml: The detents and end-stops would be a little 'squishy' if there were no power driving the stepper motor. Depending upon the design of the stepper motor, however, this may not be objectionable. An ordinary motor could also be used, though a stepper motor could probably provide somewhat better tactile feedback.
supercat, Feb 19 2002
  
      
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