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The iPod mini was unique to combine their
touch pad (the scrollwheel) with clickable
buttons underneath the surface. Now, all
one needs to do is to bring this tech to the
keyboard, and ta-da! no more hustling
your hands back and forth between the
keyboard and the
mouse -- the keyboard is
pointing device. One could go
conservatively and make only the space
bar touch-sensitive: it could be used for
scrolling sideways, for example. Or, one
could convert the numpad into a big touch
pad with clickable numpad buttons.
Finally, one can convert the entire
keyboard into a single gigantic touch pad
(no more crumbs getting inbetween keys).
The necessary feature that would have to
be paired along with this is how to enable/
disable responding to touches to prevent
accidental cursor movements. For
example, in Mac OS X's System Preferences
> Keyboard & Mouse > Trackpad section,
there's a checkbox for "Ignore accidental
trackpad input" which seems to ignore
finger movements when there are two or
more fingers on it.
||This sounds great! It would take time getting used to typing on a flat surface.
||Awesome.. follow through with it and make it happen. US patent law gives you 1 year from public disclosure (i.e. web publishing) to apply for patent protection if you think you need that to get started. Seriously, do some research and run with it... today!
Best of luck.
||Worldwide patent law is rather different. I've read it, so I could go produce it entirely legally. However, if anybody has the connections to make this happen, I'd happily buy it instead.
||I had a laptop some of whose keys have gotten to be unbelievably sensitive. Keys will register before I'm pushing them hard enough to see them move visibly or even feel them. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on because characters would appear on screen when I wasn't aware of even touching the keys.
||more annoying still - not having an email address for supercat after all these years...
||mine is very public - meow.
||The more interesting alternative to converting the
keyboard into a single (hard) trackpad, in my
opinion, is making each and every keytop touch
sensitive. You then can have a virtual (soft) trackpad
over all keys without losing the traditional key
behavior. Multitouch, of course. As long as youre
pressing down a key it would not be recognizing
||The immediately above annotated alternative idea is what I was planning to post when I opened all of these input device ideas I've been activating. It has the advantage of any discrete pointing device located in the middle of the keyboard, namely that you don't have to move your hands from the keyboard to point, but even more so, because you can use any of your fingers conveniently. I imagine each keycap would need a central touch sensing area as well as four around its edge, to fully disambiguate multiple fingers next to each other.
||You could also designate a certain area (such as the spacebar, on keyboards having one) as a slider to move your text cursor around within the text you're editing, to avoid having to carefully position your pointing cursor and click with it (and then get it out of the way to properly see what you're going to type).