Browse Prior Art Database

Customizable Keys Using Add-On "Plugs"

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000101103D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-16
Document File: 4 page(s) / 158K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Pickover, CA: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Disclosed is a device and method for customizing a terminal keyboard. Both the position and shapes of keys are easily changed. The basic idea makes use of key plugs and a base which accepts the key plugs. The base of the keyboard 1 is available in several sizes to account for different complexities of desired keys. All identification of the keys is done at the key itself so that the key nomenclature and the software input are always the same. This allows this customizable keyboard to be transparent to the using device.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

Customizable Keys Using Add-On "Plugs"

       Disclosed is a device and method for customizing a
terminal keyboard.  Both the position and shapes of keys are easily
changed.  The basic idea makes use of key plugs and a base which
accepts the key plugs.  The base of the keyboard 1 is available in
several sizes to account for different complexities of desired keys.
All identification of the keys is done at the key itself so that the
key nomenclature and the software input are always the same.  This
allows this customizable keyboard to be transparent to the using
device.

      Fig. 1 shows an example of a base 1 with a matrix of key
plugs 2.  The keys 3 are plugged individually into the base in any
desired geometry.  The keys can be easily removed and placed anywhere
else in the plug-in base. Notice that the plugs are spaced at about
half of the normal distance between keys. There are at least four
times the number of plugs available than there is room for keys.
Thus, only about one fourth of the plugs are actually used. This
allows the user to very easily space various keys at any distance
apart that is a multiple of one half key width. This small plug
matrix means that at least one empty plug will be between each pair
of keys.

      Once the keys are in place, if the user, for example, wishes to
move the scroll lock key from the upper right to the left central
location, the key is merely pulled out of the upper right plug and
pushed into the left central plug. The key identification
automatically is moved with the key so that the using device is not
even aware that the key position was moved.

      Fig. 2 shows the detail of a key and a particular plug. Each
key consists of a keytop 4 which is firmly attached to a key stem 5.
This key stem is spring loaded into the key switch box 6.  Pressing
the key top actuates the key switch inside of the key switch box.
The back side of the key switch box 7 has a series of conductive
lines (not shown). The left-most line is connected to the key switch.
The other 8 lines are each connected to either the ground or 5 volts.
The pattern of which these 8 lines are connected to 5 volts
determines one of 256 possible addresses for this particular switch.
The lines 8 at the back of the plug 9 read the key switch line
as well as the 8 identification lines to determine the identity of
this key.  For example, if the key shown in the figure has an 8-bit
identity of 11001110 binary, then lines 1,2,5,6, and 7 from the left
are connected to 5 volts and the others are connected to ground. When
this key is placed in the plug, the keyboard waits for the key switch
line to be act...