Browse Prior Art Database

Environmentally Hardened TrackPoint Device

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014885D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is an enhanced design of the IBM 'TrackPoint' pointing device used primarily on the IBM ThinkPad series of laptop computers. This design addresses the market for durable or hardened devices that exceed normal operating environments. The design provides the following enhancements:

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Environmentally Hardened TrackPoint Device

Disclosed is an enhanced design of the IBM 'TrackPoint' pointing device used primarily on the IBM ThinkPad series of laptop computers. This design addresses the market for durable or hardened devices that exceed normal operating environments. The design provides the following enhancements:

Resistance to rain and weather

Resistance to chemical and biological attack agents

Withstands rough usage and handling


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The design is based on the use of two strain gauges bonded within a high strength aluminum housing. The housing provides for very small deflections sensed by the strain gauges which allows control of the cursor in the X-Y directions as does the current design. This assembly replaces the ceramic stick and board mounted strain gauges found in the highly popular 'TrackPoint' design.

In addition the design addesses cursor drift that might be introduced in other design implementations resolving environmental hardening. For example, one may provide a durable cover over the current ceramic stick but introduce a mechanical interface that causes drifting of the cursor when no force is applied.

Figure 1 shows placement of strain gauges within aluminum hub from the backside of the user keyboard. A retainer is used to hold the device tightly to the printed circuit board to resist water and other agents.

Figure 2 depicts what the user sees when using the keyboard.

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FIGURE 1: REAR VIEW OF ALUMINUM TRACKPOINT WI...