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The Chord Keyboard

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131357D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 8 page(s) / 33K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Nathaniel Rochester: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

[Figure containing following caption omitted: A keyboard prototype offers one-handed operation, small size, low cost of manufacture, and permits the touch typing of large alphabets.] The chord keyboard is a miniature keyboard that is operated with one hand and is suitable for typing large amounts of data at high speed. It can handle a much larger alphabet than any reasonably sized conventional keyboard. Because it requires only one hand, it makes new computer applications possible. Because it is so small and mechanically simple, it costs less to manufacture than a conventional keyboard.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

The Chord Keyboard

Nathaniel Rochester

IBM Corporation and MIT

Frank C. Bequaert

IBM Corporation

Elmer M. Sharp

IBM Corporation

(Image Omitted: A keyboard prototype offers one-handed operation, small size, low cost of manufacture, and permits the touch typing of large alphabets.)

The chord keyboard is a miniature keyboard that is operated with one hand and is suitable for typing large amounts of data at high speed. It can handle a much larger alphabet than any reasonably sized conventional keyboard. Because it requires only one hand, it makes new computer applications possible. Because it is so small and mechanically simple, it costs less to manufacture than a conventional keyboard.

Keyboard layout and operation

The right-handed chord keyboard is shown in Figures 1 and 2. It has a five- by-two array of square keys operated by the fingers and a row of four rectangular keys operated by the thumb. The finger keys have rounded depressions, called "dimples." When a finger presses a dimple, the corresponding character is formed. If the "D" dimple is pressed, one key goes down and a "D" is typed. If the "E" dimple is pressed, two keys go down and a "B" is typed. If the "W" dimple is pressed, four keys go down and a "W" is typed. There are 27 dimples on the keyboard, providing space for the entire alphabet.

The operator may press up to three finger dimples at once, producing a string of letters in one stroke -- hence the term "chord," since this is analogous to playing a chord on the piano. Typical examples of chords are "the" and "fro," which are common strings in English. Since the ring finger and little finger do not function well independently, only three fingers are used to form chords. Finger assignment for chord formation is shown in Figure 2.

The thumb keyboard has troughs instead of dimples, and by pressing a trough it is possible to depress either one thumb key or two adjacent thumb keys as a part of a chord. Since there are seven troughs and since not pressing a trough is a valid action when forming a chord, there are eight thumb positions. The commonest character in the English language is the space, so it is given special treatment. If the SPACE trough is pressed as a part of a chord, a space is inserted ahead of the string of characters specified by the finger dimples. Thus, it is possible to type " the" as a single chord. The thumb can also be used to reverse the normal left-toright sequence of letters in a chord, with or without a space. Thus " and" and "in"" can be typed as single chords using the SPACE-...