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Browse Prior Art Database

Pointing Device (Trace Ball + Mouse)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000116335D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-30
Document File: 2 page(s) / 48K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Shimada, K: AUTHOR

Abstract

Disclosed is a pointing device that combines the functions of a track-ball and mouse. The main feature of this device is that the same ball is used as the track-ball and the mouse ball. This is made possible by using a special ball-holding mechanism consisting of three spherical joints. The device can be designed as a detachable part embedded on the surface of a computer keyboard.

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Pointing Device (Trace Ball + Mouse)

      Disclosed is a pointing device that combines the functions of a
track-ball and mouse.  The main feature of this device is that the
same ball is used as the track-ball and the mouse ball.  This is made
possible by using a special ball-holding mechanism consisting of
three spherical joints.  The device can be designed as a detachable
part embedded on the surface of a computer keyboard.

      Fig. 1 shows the ball-holding mechanism with three spherical
joints under the ball.  These joints are necessary to hold the ball
at the appropriate height when used as a track-ball.  By using the
spherical joints, the ball can be rotated easily with very little
friction.

      Figs. 2 and 3 illustrate how this pointing device is embedded
as a detachable part of a portable computer.  Fig. 2 shows how the
device is attached on the top surface of a portable computer and used
as a track-ball.  Fig. 3 shows how it is detached from the top
surface and used as a mouse.  Note that the three spherical joints
touch and hold the ball only when it is used as a track-ball as shown
in Fig. 2.

      The usage of this pointing device is not limited to portable
computers; for example, it can be applied to all types of desktop
computer keyboards as well.  Moreover, the device can be attached not
only on the top surface of a keyboard but also on the front surface
and a side surface.