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Text Input using Circular Touch Pads

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000048520D
Publication Date: 2005-Feb-08
Document File: 5 page(s) / 258K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Shawn Day: INVENTOR [+2]

Abstract

This document describes a method and apparatus for inputting textual data using a circular touch pad. While potentially useful in many applications, the primary motivation for the idea is to enable intuitive text input on small handheld devices that lack conventional keyboards or keypads.

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Text Input using Circular Touch Pads Shawn Day and Phil Acker

Text Input using Circular Touch Pads

1. Inventors: Shawn Day and Phil Acker
2. Synaptics Incorporated, San Jose, CA, USA

3. Short Summary

This document describes a method and apparatus for inputting textual data using a circular touch pad. While potentially useful in many applications, the primary motivation for the idea is to enable intuitive text input on small handheld devices that lack conventional keyboards or keypads.

4. General Description

Figure 1 shows a conventional circular touch pad, as embodied in the Apple iPod® portable digital music player. The circular touch pad tracks the angular position of a user's finger, and actuates a mechanical switch beneath it when pressure is applied to its surface.

Figure 1

Figure 2 shows an on-screen display of the sort that would be implemented as part of the apparatus described in this paper. During operation, the display of Figure 2 would appear when the host device entered a mode requesting text input by the end-user. Touching the circular touch pad would cause the corresponding wedge-shaped region in Figure 2 to become highlighted.

Circular touch pad

Copyright © 2005 Synaptics Incorporated, All Rights Reserved. Page: 1 of 5

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Text Input using Circular Touch Pads Shawn Day and Phil Acker

Finger position indicator

Figure 2

Text entry proceeds as follows:

* An indicator on the display (the white circle in Figure 2) tracks the position of the finger on the circular touch pad
* The wedge-shaped region beneath the indicator is automatically highlighted
* Positional hysteresis prevents uncontrollable changes in the selection when the finger is positioned directly over the boundary between two selection regions
* The highlighted wedge-shaped region in Figure 2 expands in width to display the positional hysteresis visually
* Pressing down on the circular touch pad activates the mechanical switch beneath it and sends the selected character to the host system
* Pressing the center button switches the displayed character set between upper case, lower case, and punctuation symbols

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Text Input using Circular Touch Pads Shawn Day and Phil Acker

5. Some Alternate Embodiments and Uses

Examples of alternate embodiments of the invention, and other uses of the invention, include:

The circular touch pad of an alternate embodiment provides navigation controls until the "T#" button is pressed (Figure 3), activating Text Entry Mode. Backlit alphanumeric buttons then appear on the touch pad. To deactivate the Text Entry Mode, simply press and hold the "T#" button until the backlit buttons disappear.

Figure 3: Alphanumeric input is possible by pressing the "T#" button. Backlit alphanumeric buttons appear while Text Entry Mode is activate...