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Snap Feel for Magnetic Ball Keyboard

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000049626D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-09
Document File: 2 page(s) / 32K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Nassimbene, EG: AUTHOR

Abstract

This magnetic ball keyboard is arranged so that the ball is 'hinged' at the home position as an actuating key top is depressed and pivots around to strike a wall of a ball confining cell before traveling down to a membrane switch portion of the keyboard. This pivot travel provides a desired "snap" action for tactile feedback to the operator as the ball breaks away from the pivoting action.

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Snap Feel for Magnetic Ball Keyboard

This magnetic ball keyboard is arranged so that the ball is 'hinged' at the home position as an actuating key top is depressed and pivots around to strike a wall of a ball confining cell before traveling down to a membrane switch portion of the keyboard. This pivot travel provides a desired "snap" action for tactile feedback to the operator as the ball breaks away from the pivoting action.

A portion of a keyboard is shown in the drawing. Only the essentials of each key are shown in the interest of clarity. The keyboard comprises a membrane switch portion 12 above which is arranged an actuating keyboard portion 14. The latter portion comprises a molded structure 16 and a matching magnetic rubber structure 18, both arranged with key wells 20 over the crosspoints of the switch portion for confining steel balls 21, 22, 23, 24 to travel vertically of the crosspoints. Magnetic metal (steel, for example) pieces 28 are arranged on one side only of each key well 20 for aiding in the confinement of the balls in the wells, for enhancing the magnetic fields affecting the balls, and for effecting a pivot point for the novel action of this keyboard.

The balls are held up against the confining pieces 28 by magnetic force and slightly off center with respect to the crosspoints of the switch portion. As a keytop, say, keytop 34, is pressed; the ball 24 first pivots against the magnetic enhancing piece 28 end moves into alignment with the cross...