Browse Prior Art Database

Method to Disable and Enable a Touch Pad Pointing Device or Tablet Input Device using Gestures

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015198D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jun-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 57K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Portable computers are equipped with integrated pointing devices such as pointing sticks, touch pads, and track balls. Recently, two pointing devices, the pointing stick and the touch pad, have penetrated nearly 100% of the portable computer market. Unfortunately, most users prefer one or the other, and do not like to use them interchangeably. Pointing stick users cite accidental activation and lack of precision for reasons to dislike touch pads. Pad users site more usage style options and more intuitive device operation as the main reasons to prefer touch pads over pointing sticks.

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  Method to Disable and Enable a Touch Pad Pointing Device or Tablet Input Device using Gestures

   Portable computers are equipped with integrated pointing devices such as pointing sticks, touch pads, and track balls. Recently, two pointing devices, the pointing stick and the touch pad, have penetrated nearly 100% of the portable computer market. Unfortunately, most users prefer one or the other, and do not like to use them interchangeably. Pointing stick users cite accidental activation and lack of precision for reasons to dislike touch pads. Pad users site more usage style options and more intuitive device operation as the main reasons to prefer touch pads over pointing sticks.

Recently, portable computer manufacturers have been including both pointing sticks and touch pads on their products in order to address market demand for pointing device preference accommodation. Such dual pointing portable computers offer both devices simultaneously, although most users will pick their favored device and use it predominantly. An issue with the dual pointing approach is that having both devices integrated on the system can create frustration for users who predominantly use only one of the pointing devices. The pointing devices and associated click buttons all reside within close proximity of one another on the portable computer palmrest and bottom portion of the keyboard. The user who prefers the pointing stick may suffer accidental activation from contact with the touch pad. With the pad within close proximity of the pointing stick buttons, positioning of the users hands/fingers while using the pointing stick maybe in conflict with the pad and create inadvertant cursor activity due to pad input. Pad users may also experience accidental activation during typical use of either of the pointing devices or the keyboard.

The current invention aims to solve this documented frustration of accidental activation. By using intuitive or user-defined gestures on the touch pad, a user can quickly disable and enable the touch pad for touch input. The disable gesture (for example, drawing and "X" on the pad) disables the pad for touch input, though the pad remains in a "listening mode" so it is able to register the enable gesture. The enable gesture (for example, drawing a "check" on the pad) is recognized and it re-enables the pad for touch input as needed.

The invention addresses a problem summarized as follows: find a low cost, intuitive method for users to quickly enable or disable a touch pad on a dual pointing system so that users can avoid accidental activation.

The solution is low-cost because it uses the hardware mechanisms already required to implement the device, and the "enable/disable" feature is implemented through software. It does not require any physical buttons.

The solution is intuitive because the "enable/disable" gestur...