Original Publication Date: 1990-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-15
McLean, JG: AUTHOR [+3]
This article describes a simple, flexible plastic/paper keyboard which sends row and column keystroke information in the form of air pressure bursts to a connecting array of sensors. The keyboard is designed for one-time use in sterile or contaminated environments, and it is easily disposable.
describes a simple, flexible plastic/paper
keyboard which sends row and column keystroke information in the form
of air pressure bursts to a connecting array of sensors. The
keyboard is designed for one-time use in sterile or contaminated
environments, and it is easily disposable.
disclosed herein allows a user to throw away a
keyboard after one use. This may be desirable in contaminated areas,
clean rooms, and in hospital operation rooms. This disposable
keyboard has as many keyboard positions as a standard keyboard and
has relatively good feedback when pressed.
keyboard has no electronics, it may be useful when
working in environments containing flammable gases. This would be
ideal for explosion-proof machines, such as machines that must
operate in an atmosphere of explosive gases, where an electrical
spark would detonate the gases.
Fig. 1 is an
exploded isometric view of the keyboard. It shows
a top sheet 1 and bottom sheet 2 which give row and column feedback,
respectively. Each of these sheets is formed by ironing two thin
sheets of plastic together at the indicated open areas 3. Thus,
there are actually four sheets of plastic in all. The remaining rows
of boxes 4 are left open. In other words, when the boundaries of the
keys are ironed together, each key position, when filled with air,
represents an air pocket. In the bottom sheet 2 each of the five
rows are connected, such that there are five air lines coming to the
row line device 5. In the upper sheet 1 each of the ten columns are
connected, such that there are ten air lines coming to the column
line device 6.
sheet 1 and the lower sheet 2 are glued together so
that the corners of the row line device 5 and the column line device
6 come together at the corner 7 to accommodate air line connector 8
shown in Fig. 2. The row line device 5 is a thick molded plastic
with five cavities in it for air travel. The column line device 6 is
similar with ten cavities.
cardboard frame contains an array of small
flexible plastic pillows which form the keys. Each key-pillow is
filled with air. A matrix of tubes connects to the keys; each key
has a connection to a row and a column tube. The tubes end in the
connector 8 at the edge of the keyboard. The disposable keyboard
connects to an array of sensors which detect increases in air
pressure from each tube.
There is a
"one-way" valve between the key-pillows and the row
and column tubes. When a key-pillow is depressed, there is a
resulting increase in air pressure in the row and column tubes
associated with that key. Sensors decode the key information and