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touch-sensitive keys

make keys respond to touches, not just clicks
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
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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 your new 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.
rhatta, Apr 14 2005

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       This sounds great! It would take time getting used to typing on a flat surface.
37PiecesOf Flair, Apr 14 2005
  

       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.
kumpf, Apr 14 2005
  

       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.
david_scothern, Apr 14 2005
  

       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.   

       Very annoying.
supercat, Apr 14 2005
  

       more annoying still - not having an email address for supercat after all these years...   

       mine is very public - meow.
po, Apr 14 2005
  

       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 you’re pressing down a key it would not be recognizing touches.
Crissov, Aug 01 2010
  

       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).   

       N/A [2019-04-08]
notexactly, Apr 09 2019
  
      
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