Computer: Input Device
Touch Point   (+3, -4)  [vote for, against]
For when you're not touching the pointer

In the center of a typical trackpoint style input device, a small capacitance sensor that detects the human touch.

When the finger is lifted, motion immediately stops and the input device is then recalibrated after the normal delay.

This would stop drift, even if sensitivity is set very low on the pointer.
-- mylodon, Mar 03 2008

I don't understand this. Do you mean a track pad?
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2008

Trackpoints are the little eraser heads IBM uses for mice, so I'm confused too.

Any any case. isn't that how track pads work normally? I don't use them everyday, though, and never encountered drift.
-- DrCurry, Mar 03 2008

Trackpoints are normally seen as the little red eraser in the middle of IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad laptops. These have constant drift problems.

Touchpads are normally seen on a lot of laptops. These are the square things below the keyboard your rub your thumb (or whatever) over. These don't have drift problems.

Touchpoints would take some of the touching, previously allocated to pads, and apply it to points.
-- mylodon, Mar 03 2008

Ah - I see, thanks. But does anyone still make those little eraser-head things? I thought they were phased out when trackpads came along.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2008

I love touchpoints, I have one on the desktop keyboard I am typing on now, and I understand the problem of drift. It usually results from one of three causes. The display presses down on a high trackpoint and distorts the centerline by pressing the trackpoint into the keyboard. The second cause is distorted "erasers" that touch one of the keys and cause drift. The last cause is RF interference. None of these will be solved by the idea, so I have to say (-).
-- MisterQED, Mar 03 2008

[MisterQED]: Those are pretty unusual problems caused by mechanical misalignment which is solved by mechanical alignment.

I haven't run into RF interference on a Thinkpad though.

The drift that this would solve is the common one that affects all of the Thinkpads I've owned (about six now), which has been exacerbated with the arrival of the internet and all its browsing. Basically if you push in one direction, steadily, for the same amount of time as the recalibration delay, you've recalibrated a new bad axis. Let go of the Trackpoint and the cursor zooms off.

If, when letting go of the trackpoint, the cursor immediately stopped, and then recalibrated, the drift problem would be solved.
-- mylodon, Mar 03 2008

never known this to be a problem
-- ironfroggy, Mar 04 2008

Try googling for thinkpad drift. It's pretty common. You get used to it, but then -- you shouldn't have to.

Trackpoints are very nice otherwise.
-- mylodon, Mar 04 2008

I find when I suffer this problem it recalibrates in 1 or 2 seconds. Not really long enough for me to get annoyed. And that's from machines dating back to the old T23s. Ah - the old T23! :)

It would be *nice* to have it stop the moment my finger is lifted, but I don't know if I'd want to pay for the extra hardware to make it happen.
-- Defiler, Mar 05 2008

The extra hardware would cost less than a dollar, I think. And yes, these things are still being put in laptops today. [+] for a good way of solving a problem, even though it's about my least favorite common input device.
-- notexactly, Apr 09 2019

I've owned 4 Thinkpads, including this one. The only problem with input devices so far is some idiot keeps putting trackpads and abominable chiclet keyboards/layouts on the newer ones. Never had a problem with Trackpoint drift (mind you I usually use an external trackball when I can, so the nubbin doesn't get as much use)
-- FlyingToaster, Apr 09 2019

random, halfbakery