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Visual Point-of-Contact Indicator for Handheld Devices Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015076D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Nov-03
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20

Publishing Venue



The arrow cursor associated with the mouse on desktop computers not only serves as a locator, but has a host of alternate functions based on the application in use. It serves as a status indicator when the machine is performing computations and as drawing tools of variable sizes in most graphics editing applications. Currently, handheld devices that utilize the Palm Operating System lack any visual indication whatsoever of where the stylus makes contact with the screen. The purpose of this disclosure was an attempt to bring some richness and functionality to the Palm OS by providing an indication system based on where the stylus touches the screen and what operation is about to be performed. At the most rudiment level, a simple arrow could be provided to indicate where the user was pressing on the screen. Ideally, different applications would have the control to create their own indicators as determined by the function of their applications. For example, the creators of a drawing program may desire indicators that represent a pen, paintbrush, and eraser. A tool used to browse images, web pages, or other large documents may desire an indicator that looks like a hand so the user understands that they can drag the content around the browser. As far as general usability, the only way to currently know when you have made contact with the screen in the Palm OS is when you feel the stylus connect with it. This senesation of feel could be hampered by the use of gloves or general numbness due to cold weather. A visual indication of contact introduces a secondary sensory experience that gives the user immediate feedback that contact has been made with the screen. Fig 1. A simple arrow can indicate that contact has been made with the screen