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Apple patent hints at tactile multi-touch keyboard

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
A new filing reveals that Apple has researched a method that would allow a touch-sensitive keyboard to generate physical feedback without interfering in gestures.

Published Thursday but originally applied for in April of last year, the US Patent Office application argues that designers of perfectly flat touch controls are often faced with a difficult choice, particularly if they want to include controls that require swipes or multi-touch gestures. The creators can either accept that users may have to readjust or else strike a compromise with bumps or ridges on the keyboard, which can limit the amount of control.

"It is believed that mainstream acceptance of typing on touch surfaces will require shortening of the typing re-acclimation period, which, in turn, requires improved keystroke tactility," the patent reads. But adding permanent bumps or ridges as a guide "has several disadvantages for touch surfaces also intended for pointing and gesture. For example, the key-edge ridges impede lateral pointing motions, giving the surface a rough washboard feel. The ridges also disrupt position interpolation from capacitive sensor arrays as the fingertip flesh lifts over the ridge."

To solve this, Apple inventor Wayne Carl Westerman suggests multiple solutions that the company could use with future products. The simplest of these would be to selectively use different feedback techniques, including ridges or symbols, on the areas where they would make the most sense. The typing home row could have dots, for example.

However, a second method would install an articulating frame underneath the keyboard that changes the surface depending on the immediate context. When in typing mode, the frame could raise to create edges between virtual keys, provide haptic (vibration) feedback, or create concavities that act like the dips in a traditional keyboard.



A third option would use a static frame and fill an area under the touch surface with an easily deformed material, such as a foam, gel, or even air. The resistance created by the material would be strong enough to maintain a flat surface when only light pressure is applied for gliding motions, but sink slightly for typing or other deliberate presses.



In contrast to some Apple patents, the latest application is described in isolation from any other device and appears to be a general patent for the content. The explicit mention of the need to support multi-touch technology, however, reveals research took place at the same time as Apple was in mid-development of the iPhone.
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A new filing reveals that Apple has researched a method that would allow a touch-sensitive keyboard to generate physical feedback without interfering in gestures.

Published Thursday but originally applied for in April of last year, the US Patent Office application argues that designers of perfectly flat touch controls are often faced with a difficult choice, particularly if they want to include controls that require swipes or multi-touch gestures. The creators can either accept that users may have to readjust or else strike a compromise with bumps or ridges on the keyboard, which can limit the amount of control.

"It is believed that mainstream acceptance of typing on touch surfaces will require shortening of the typing re-acclimation period, which, in turn, requires improved keystroke tactility," the patent reads. But adding permanent bumps or ridges as a guide "has several disadvantages for touch surfaces also intended for pointing and gesture. For example, the key-edge ridges impede lateral pointing motions, giving the surface a rough washboard feel. The ridges also disrupt position interpolation from capacitive sensor arrays as the fingertip flesh lifts over the ridge."

To solve this, Apple inventor Wayne Carl Westerman suggests multiple solutions that the company could use with future products. The simplest of these would be to selectively use different feedback techniques, including ridges or symbols, on the areas where they would make the most sense. The typing home row could have dots, for example.

However, a second method would install an articulating frame underneath the keyboard that changes the surface depending on the immediate context. When in typing mode, the frame could raise to create edges between virtual keys, provide haptic (vibration) feedback, or create concavities that act like the dips in a traditional keyboard.



A third option would use a static frame and fill an area under the touch surface with an easily deformed material, such as a foam, gel, or even air. The resistance created by the material would be strong enough to maintain a flat surface when only light pressure is applied for gliding motions, but sink slightly for typing or other deliberate presses.



In contrast to some Apple patents, the latest application is described in isolation from any other device and appears to be a general patent for the content. The explicit mention of the need to support multi-touch technology, however, reveals research took place at the same time as Apple was in mid-development of the iPhone.


Um, what?
post #3 of 18
Very interesting. I never thought there could be a proper compromise between tactile feedback and multitouch/display keyboard. I don't see this tech happening for a long time, and it'd take some adjustment since I don't look at my keys when I type, but I could see it being VERY useful for, say, Final Cut Pro (for which people often use keyboard overlays to show all the controls).
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Playmaker View Post

Um, what?

Umm...yeah, I'll have what he's smokin'
post #5 of 18
They type of keyboard already exists. Apple bought the comapny a few years ago. The keyboard is called a TouchStream. It was by fingerworks. I have been using one for a few years now. I hope Apple starts making them so that I can get a replacement for what I have.

The original company http://www.fingerworks.com/
The place a number of customers went when the comoany shut down. http://fingerfans.dreamhosters.com/
post #6 of 18
If you look at Apple's new super-flat keyboards and the iPhone, I think it is obvious that Apple wants to move to a virtual keyboards very soon.
post #7 of 18
I am ready for this keyboard today as the new Apple aluminum keyboard I purchased has been giving me spacebar problems from the first day (it runs words together as sometimes it will not include a space when hit).
post #8 of 18
Imagine a 15" MBP with 2 multi-touch screens. One for the screen, and one for the keyboard/trackpad. Also be able to rotate the screen and fold it flat like a tablet. That is my prediction for MacWorld!
post #9 of 18
interesting ... as if they would have read my new blog about future science & technology stuff, i recently descriebed that idea.

http://www.scienceforecast.com
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceForecast View Post

interesting ... as if they would have read my new blog about future science & technology stuff, i recently descriebed that idea.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but Apple didn't read your blog. I've had, like, three ideas that I thought were revolutionary but then they came out two weeks later. Like tabbed web-browsing. The idea hit me, and a month later, I learned about Opera, or whomever it was who did it first.

There's one idea I still have that hasn't been taken mainstream. It's to rid the world (once and for all) of CDs. It's not really an invention, per se, but it's the idea to sell music on flash drives. Sturdy, dependable, long-lasting. Put a bunch on a key ring and take 'em with you. Car radios can just have a USB port, you plug it in and play your music. Solid-state is cheap enough now that you could fit an hours'-worth of a really well-encoded MP3 on a 256MB chip... something that'll cost about a buck to produce. But it'll be better than CDs.

Damn, I hate CDs. When will we move away from freaking spinning media.

Anyway, yay, multi-touch tactile keyboard.

-Clive
My Mod: G4 Cube + Atom 330 CPU + Wiimote = Ultimate HTPC!
(Might I recommend the Libertarian Party as a good compromise between the equally terrible "DnR"?)
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My Mod: G4 Cube + Atom 330 CPU + Wiimote = Ultimate HTPC!
(Might I recommend the Libertarian Party as a good compromise between the equally terrible "DnR"?)
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post #11 of 18
"To solve this, ____ inventor Wayne Carl Westerman suggests multiple solutions that the company could use with future products."

Funny thing is, if this is filed by an individual inventor who doesn't work for Apple, people here will all be screaming "patent troll"!

That aside, I don't see any of the solutions in this filing can be applied to iPhone.
post #12 of 18
I failed to apply for a patent on the following...

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showt...05#post1156405

...and I had another idea posted earlier, but apparently it is lost somewhere in the out-of-date AI thread warehouse.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

There's one idea I still have that hasn't been taken mainstream. It's to rid the world (once and for all) of CDs. It's not really an invention, per se, but it's the idea to sell music on flash drives. Sturdy, dependable, long-lasting. Put a bunch on a key ring and take 'em with you. Car radios can just have a USB port, you plug it in and play your music. Solid-state is cheap enough now that you could fit an hours'-worth of a really well-encoded MP3 on a 256MB chip... something that'll cost about a buck to produce. But it'll be better than CDs.

Damn, I hate CDs. When will we move away from freaking spinning media.

thats actually a really good idea. would be much easier for double or more multi disc albums/compilations. it would be good for advertising as well. one flaw i can think of at the moment is that the flash drives would be easier to share than CD's, meaning less poeple would buy them if their friends borrowed them and put them on their iPod or computer or whatever. but then again, they would be cheap as chips to produce anyway, so there would be greater profit margins, so it wouldnt really matter lol.

bit of a ramble then, but i think ive got my point acros, but yeh great idea
"i find that if you keep talkin', your mouth comes up with stuff..." Karl Pilkington
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"i find that if you keep talkin', your mouth comes up with stuff..." Karl Pilkington
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post #14 of 18
Groups have already been selling their albums on flash drives (White Stripes and others).

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #15 of 18
hey clive at five,

of course apple DIDN'T read my blog. but: the fact that apple has patented it, strongly supports my idea, that this stuff might get relevant. thats why I found it to be interesting!
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but Apple didn't read your blog. I've had, like, three ideas that I thought were revolutionary but then they came out two weeks later. Like tabbed web-browsing. The idea hit me, and a month later, I learned about Opera, or whomever it was who did it first.

There's one idea I still have that hasn't been taken mainstream. It's to rid the world (once and for all) of CDs. It's not really an invention, per se, but it's the idea to sell music on flash drives. Sturdy, dependable, long-lasting. Put a bunch on a key ring and take 'em with you. Car radios can just have a USB port, you plug it in and play your music. Solid-state is cheap enough now that you could fit an hours'-worth of a really well-encoded MP3 on a 256MB chip... something that'll cost about a buck to produce. But it'll be better than CDs.

Damn, I hate CDs. When will we move away from freaking spinning media.

Anyway, yay, multi-touch tactile keyboard.

-Clive

Those days may not be too far off. Crutchfield.com currently lists over 30 in dash receivers with some form of USB input.

regards,

Tim
post #17 of 18
I have this new aluminium keyboard and it has some drawbacks and problems or I would say bugs. lets see what comes out of it.

sachin
post #18 of 18
Between this and the elastic rubber dock, it looks like those apple geniuses have been snorting bug powder and watching eXistenZ

Is David Cronenberg listed as a co-inventor?

PS an articulating touchscreen superstrate to simulate keyboard / provide tactile feedback would be INSANELY GREAT (really)
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