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Trackball Laptop Keyboard

No more eraser-nub or touch pad.
  (+2)
(+2)
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against]

Using one of the first generation wireless keyboards, I sympathize with laptop owners worldwide who hate their little eraser-nub in the middle of their keyboard that is supposed to replace a mouse. Despite the advances in eraser-nub technology, they are still terrible to use. The lack of precision is abysmal. Don't even get me started on touch-pads.

Instead, mold the keys around the eraser-nub to be a little wider, and instead place a trackball about the size of a marble, and the necessary slightly protruding plastic housing. Keep the mouse buttons where ever they may have been in the days of the eraser-nub and you've got a replacemen for a standard mouse that has not only precision, but is in the middle of your keyboard and yet doesn't impede typing. Make the slightly protruding plastic housing removable in the twist and yank fashion of standard ball mice, and it lends to easy cleaning as well.

Cheekio, Jun 24 2004

Google for "wireless keyboard trackball" http://www.fentek-ind.com/wireless.htm
Wireless keyboards with built-in trackball [Freefall, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

[link]






       The centre of the keyboard is not a good place for the pointing device. Frequent laptop users connect their favourite flavour of pointing device, and see the built-in one as a quick-and-nasty substitute for the occasional quick on-the-go use. If you look at it this way, you want the built in device to be unobtrusive; a touchpad (now the most common) fits nicely.   

       Aside: As a long-time user of trackballs, I've found that large and finger-driven are great, while small and thumb-driven are not.
benjamin, Jun 24 2004
  

       Yeah, I'm pretty sure some of the earlier built-in laptop pointing devices were little trackballs like this.
Etymon, Jun 24 2004
  

       Hooray for mini mice! I can't stand those touch pad thingies. I think the others are right though, this has basically been done.
madradish, Jun 24 2004
  

       I recently used a Toshiba laptop made in about 1845 (okay, it ran Windows 3.0 so you can age it from that) which had a full-sized trackball mounted on the right of the keyboard. It was surprisingly good to use, although it did make the laptop a slightly odd shape.
suctionpad, Jun 24 2004
  

       Yeah, the only reason I bought that 180c way back when instead of a more advanced (used) model was the jawbreaker-sized trackball. Ah, the old 180c... They make 'em too thin for trackballs these days. Anyone know of a source for replacement 180 trackballs? (Or, for that matter, 180 everything elses? Mine's broke.)
cloudface, Jun 24 2004
  

       [benjamin], an eraser-nub is placed so it is convienant that you do use your fingers. A good idea that I failed to think of originally would have been to make it of a heavier substance so the inertia and feel of the track ball would have been right, despite it being small.   

       Trackballs are apparently a positive thing on laptops as [suctionpad] and [cloudface] have mentioned, but the idea is to put them in place of that damned eraser-nub and to be rid of the terrible touchpads. Many keyboards are split up the center to provide a more ergonomic feel to them, so having the keys spaced a little funny for the marble trackball still seems feasible in my mind.   

       Any further details for or against?
Cheekio, Jun 24 2004
  

       Done. Baked. Oooh - heres a fishbone!
energy guy, Jun 24 2004
  

       // an eraser-nub is placed so it is convienant that you do use your fingers //   

       I stand by my initial statement that it isn't. The position is halfway between good places for left- and right- handed users; a compromise.
benjamin, Jun 24 2004
  

       As long as money is not an issue, the laptop is an extension of your home desktop, and therefore needs to be portable, and so the existing solution is just fine. Though I'd go with the touchpad over the nub.
Eugene, Jun 25 2004
  

       Wireless keyboards with trackballs are baked. See link.
[marked-for-deletion] Baked. took me all of 30 seconds to find.
Freefall, Jun 25 2004
  

       [Freefall] - //Baked//
Indeed they are. As are laptops with trackballs (baked and widely known to exist). However, the idea (as I read it) was for a particular placement of the ball.
benjamin, Jun 26 2004
  

       [admin: I agree, ignoring the MFD.]
jutta, Feb 14 2008
  

       I love the nub. I actually stole two old IBM keyboards from work so I could use the nub with my regular desktop. Those keyboards are finally dying so I will be forced to buy a mouse again. I hate them, they take up too much space.
MisterQED, Feb 15 2008
  

       I visit this page every few months when I google for "laptop trackball."   

       My dream interface for a laptop pointing device is a blackberry like clit-ball in the position of a thinkpads rubber-nipple ... and at least three mouse buttons (maybe five) where thinkpads have them (thumb position under the keyboard).   

       This is my dream because I love the placement of the Thinkpad rubber-nipple but using that thing for more than an hour make my finger ache, where as trackballs I use all day long. I also dream of lots of mouse buttons so that I can have scroll/zoom/other special click functionality with the pointing device. Apple has done some great things with multi touch trackpads but I remain a die hard trackball fanatic =)
starpause, Apr 30 2008
  

       [MisterQED], I don't know how you can stand to use that thing, but I do know that Lenovo has made a USB version of the ThinkPad keyboard, but I don't know if they still do, but I do know some people have hacked old ThinkPad keyboards taken from the laptops to connect to desktop computers.   

       [starpause], I don't know if you want to build such a thing yourself, but I do know SparkFun has sold BlackBerry trackballs and breakout boards for them, but I don't know if they still do, but I do know that you can find a similarly sized (but very susceptible to dirt) trackball in an Apple Mighty Mouse.
notexactly, Dec 18 2018
  
      
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