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Hardware

Interesting Keyboard/Mouse Combo 181

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-see dept.
Rimmel sent us a fairly hacked up keyboard/mouse combo. It's only a prototype, and the guy actually claims a patent on it (it's a split keyboard with a joystick. Let's not get full of ourselves ;) but he does have a lot of interesting notes on it, including timing notes to demonstrate that integrating the mouse this way is a speed gain. I'd tend to agree since I use a thinkpad with a mouse nipple half the time. Reaching for a mouse sucks, but the other half of that is playing a video game with anything besides a mouse is impossible.
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Interesting Keyboard/Mouse Combo

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hahahahahahaha! Sorry, but from watching the video, it definetly looks like the right handed side of the keyboard will slide around much too easily for any form of speed typing..

    A patent?! Well, maybe it's warranted, but again let's not get too full of ourselves..

    --TooLazyToCreateAnAccountRightNow

    kris at kukuvka.com [mailto]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    his particular mouse could probably be infinitely improved with a button on the keyboard that locks/unlocks movement of the mouseball as to be able to type easier in between mouse moves.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    > Almost every good Quake player plays with
    > the mouse.

    Sigh. Another neophyte gamer who thinks Quake
    is the end-all be-all of video games.

    The mouse is good for SOME video games. Well, if you don't have a trackball, that is.

  • Read the article, the inventor here managed to keep the weight down to that of an Intellimouse (granted, the Intellimouse is easily the heavist mouse I've ever used). He didn't address my #2 concern (after the weight one of course): This looks a lot more fragile than your average mouse. Mice take quite of bit of punishment over their lifetime, and now this guy is attaching half of an ultralight keyboard to the nose of it and we are supposed to avoid banging it on every other thing littering our desks. Worse, he used a laptop keyboard, and laptop keyboards generally have terrible tactile feedback.

    Down that path lies madness. On the other hand, the road to hell is paved with melting snowballs.
  • His 'patent' is dead due to prior art: The IBM Thinkpad Keyboard has the eraserhead numb for a mouse. There's also keyboards that let you move the J key around and it'll move the mouse.



    --
    WolfSkunks for a better Linux Kernel
    $Stalag99{"URL"}="http://stalag99.keenspace.com";

  • by Hrunting (2191) on Monday May 21, 2001 @08:51AM (#208211) Homepage
    I know this will probably get modded down to where no one will see it, but I don't see why this guy doesn't deserve a patent. Yes, it's a split keyboard, but one of the split parts actually IS the mouse, a really bright (IMHO) idea that deserves to be rewarded. More importantly, this isn't a software patent, but an actual physical invention that has to be built and manufactured, and therefore, an exclusive right to distribute and/or license its design seems appropriate.

    Don't get me wrong, I think a lot of patents these days are pretty bad, but this thing actually seems fairly inventive and worthy of the rights.
  • In 1992 - 1993 I was involved in an ergonomics experiment sponsored by the Bank of America New Technology Centre. The experiment gauged, among other things, how much time it took for people to reach for the mouse from their keyboard.

    The results were very surprising: Right-handed people who train themselves to use the mouse with their left hand were 40% faster at completing tasks under Windows and OS/2. This had to do with the following:

    • The Presentation Manager guidelines allowed for some strange mappings of keys and mouse movements
    • On a standard PC keyboard, cursor movement, insert/delete/home/end/pgup/pgdn keys, and the numeric pad are on the right

    For those of you too young to remember this, Presentation Manager was the user interface standard proposed by IBM and implemented by OS/2 and Windows 3.x. Many of its ugly recommendations are still enforced in Microsoft systems.

    It was measured that many tasks were accomplished faster by navigating with the mouse (left hand) to a given screen area, then using the cursor, Enter, or control keys to perform an action, or use the numeric keys for data capture, etc.

    I still use my mouse with the left hand. You may wish to try it! It only takes about a day or so to get used to the new position. No, I didn't change the buttons' configuration. Left button is still left button even though I use the mouse with the left hand. It's a lot easier to move the mouse to the left of the keyboard on a system that doesn't belong to you than to re-map the buttons ::wink::.

    I will ask if they ever published this research; if they did, I'll post back a follow up comment with the link to it.

    Cheers!

    E
  • by Bake (2609)
    Nope, no corelation between left thumb space bar and left mouse use (either that or I'm the exception that proves the rule).

    I'm a lefty and use my left thumb to hit the space bar, but I use my mouse with my right hand.

    Go lefties!
  • I dunno. I've always heard it called the clit mouse before...
    I guess nipple is a bit more socially gracefull maybe?

    ;)

  • Heh - if they made those keyboards with the old-style springs rather than cheapo rubber domes, I'd order one. As it is, I have a retro IBM keyboard I use with my laptop when I'm at home. It's big, heavy, and makes VERY loud clicking while typing. In short, it's wonderful to type with it on my lap - if it had a built-in trackpoint (nipple) or even a micro-trackball on the right-hand side, it'd be perfect. A lot moreso than the keyboard/trackpad on my laptop, where my palms always seem to activate the trackpad at inopportune times while I'm typing...
  • How about putting the cpu/memory in the stand for the monitor, and putting the heavy drives into the left-hand piece, leaving the right-hand one light enough to easily mouse with?

    That way, you can throw a (small) fan into the base to dissipate heat from the cpu/memory, keep the drives in the stable left-hand portion, and the right-hand portion becomes the mouse.

    Of course, if you start moving all the heavier parts (drives, etc...) into the base, you end up with something similar to the slim desktop Vaios...
  • I've always wondered about this as well - since I hardly ever use the keypad, I wouldn't mind not having it there (dark clouds, thunder) - unfortunately, I have yet to find a mechanical spring keyboard as well-constructed as the old IBM keyboard I currently use, that doesn't include a keypad.

    The "Happy Hacking Keyboard" is close, but it's rubber-dome rather than spring-based.

    Anyone know of a company putting out well-constructed spring keyboards without keypads at a reasonable price?
  • NICE!

    That's *exactly* what I was talking about!

    Thank you! (Also thanks to the poster above, I have a place I can order one from!)
  • Doh!

    They're not *quite* identical - pckeyboard's version has a "tall" return key, whilst the version in your shots has the more conventional "wide" return key. (which is the type I prefer)

    Any chance you have it kicking around and could snag the model number for me?
  • Well, here's another keyboard that has it wrong.

    The '6' is on the wrong side. Don't keyboard makers know how to type?
  • You're not going to get anywhere re-inventing the mouse and the keyboard, I don't care how much of a "better" design it is. People are comfortable with those two current devices and they're not going to make a switch to something weird looking. If you really want to innovate do something new that people can latch onto. The gesture based input from Black and White is a good example.
  • Okay, a guy from Oz has a US Patent on his invention. Good for him, good for the USPTO.

    About the design, Ive often wondered if a Theremin effect could be used for a 3D spacial
    controller. Maybe even 4D. Ideas?

  • Damn, and me without modpoints....
  • by GoRK (10018) <<moc.ocbrulb> <ta> <lnhoj>> on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:23AM (#208224) Homepage Journal
    I have seen SGI workstations that have a bank of 6 dials/knobs for doing similar things. They are for XYZ Rotate and XYZ Translate. I imagine they are serial devices, so you can probably use them on just about anything as long as you have software support. Anyone know where to get them?

    ~GoRK
  • I always wanted to take apart an old mouse, and mount two dials on the front end of the keyboard.

    That way, you could have perfect orthogonal motion when doing CAD or drawing work. Doing diagonals will take some skill.

    Miss the old Etch-a-Sketch, eh? :)

    Remember the old Tektonix 4010 graphics terminals [rdrop.com] of the 70's who had just that for the graphics cursor: two thumbwheels on the right side of the keyboard?

    But the best BM (before mouse) user-interface I've seen was on a Hewlett-Packard 9836 series [trailingedge.com] desktop computer. It had a single thumbwheel on the left of the keyboard that sent the cursor in the direction of the last cursor key pressed.

    --

  • I couldn't agree more. This is the type of thing for which patents were intended. He has demonstrably improved an existing device in a novel and non-trivial way.
  • Yes. I'm right handed but I've been using my mouse on the left for quite some time now. It's much more comfortable.
  • Most gamers play First Person Shooters (FPS) with the mouse and keyboard combo (joysticks, flight sticks, joypads, etc on certain games only.).
    My friend MUTATO plays Quake 3 Arena with a throttle and mouse though because of all the buttons and movement he can do with it. Now, this company in Austraila manufactures something called the Claw [claw.com.au]. I've used it before and it was pretty cool... really easy to program, but only has has 9 buttons :( (Start adding them up for Q3A:RA3 and you'll see that is not a lot -- Left, Right, Forward, Back (4 total), Fire, Jump, Alt. Fire (7 total for basics), Rocket Launcher, Railgun, Plasma gun, Machine gun, Lightning gun, "Enemy Here!" binds, etc). Imagine 5 buttons on the mouse and also the left side of the keyboard.... SWEET!

    This keyboard and mouse could solve the problem if done correctly... He better have patiented it :). I like it... gotta build my own prototype and keep it under wraps.
  • Being left-handed myself, I'm also thinking of converting to a left-handed mouse. Currently I own a Logitech Mouseman which is right-handed and I'm completely comfortable using my mouse right handed.

    But one thing strikes me as being "wrong": when you center your keyboard's alphanumeric part to the monitor, the numeric part will point out to the right. And even further to the right is the mouse. So, when positioning my keyboard in an ergonomic manner, the mouse is waaaaay to the right. Now I must reach out to the mouse, which really strains (in my case) my shoulder.

    When using the mouse with the left hand everything is in balance again: mouse to the left of the screen, alphanumeric keyboard in front of it, and numeric keyboard to the right.

  • My favorite is the contraction of "Joystick" and "Nipple"...Leading to the...

    JOYNIPPLE!

    C-X C-S
  • I agree - give it a try for a day or so and see if you feel more efficient. I made the switch a year or two ago after reading yet another carpal-tunnel-owns-your-wrists article here, and have never looked back (heck, it might've been the parent post's author who gave me the idea, in which case I say "Thanks!"). It may not be for Emacs users (see post above), but since I'm a vi guy it works great. It also really confuses coworkers who try to use your workstation :)

    The only bad thing is that if you then go into a "normal" computer lab with all the mice on the right of the keyboard, you'll be grabbing for someone else's mouse until you train your left hand to stay put.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • by ethereal (13958) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:25AM (#208232) Journal
    I've always heard it called the clit mouse before...

    Just what the world needs - a mouse you can never find when your computer really wants you to... :)

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • It's not 1981 anymore, the entire right half of the keyboard isn't that heavy... Imagine doing this with an old school IBM keyboard. I'll just save my money to get one of these IBM keyboards [ibm.com], though.
  • I recently purchased a Logiteceh Cordless Freedom Navigator [logitech.com] - this is their iTouch Keyboard and a Wireless mouse with a dual-receiver. However, the combined receiver has two plugs - in the older models, these were PS/2 plugs. The newer model has two USB plugs, with those funky USB->PS/2 adaptors.

    It really puzzles me why you'd put two USB plugs on the device. After all, the iTouch keyboard is already a "composite device" - the keyboard, the iTouch keys and the multimedia buttons. Would it really have been so hard to make the USB controller provide the composite keyboard/keys/button set up and mouse information through one USB plug?

    With the corded options, you're better off - the mouse plugs into one of the two low-power USB ports on the keyboard, and keyboard plugs into the computer's USB port.

    I ended up having to buy a 4-port hub so that I could have my keyboard/mouse plugged in at the same time as my Keyspan USB adaptor. The iMac only has 2 USB ports (same for most ATX motherboards).

  • Humans just need a third arm, maybe more. Or a prehensile tail. If you could operate your keyboard with 10 digits distributed evenly across two hands and control a mouse with a tail (or a new kind of pointer device which is manipulated in 3D by direct use of the tail), we'd be all set. Then we wouldn't need to worry about all these complications of human-computer interface design -- from the input side, anyway.

    If only more neuroscientists were working on *useful* projects like bionic prehensile tails... :)

    -Chris
    ...More Powerful than Otto Preminger...
  • One of Apple's original API guidelines was to have all shortcut key combinations accessible with the left hand, leaving the right hand free to use the mouse. So, instead of retraining 90% of the population to use their off-hand for mousing, they designed the software correctly. In the best of all possible worlds, there would be a preference to set the keymap to "right handed" or "left handed". That wouldn't be hard.

    The idea that the user should have to retrain themselves instead of making simple changes in the way the software works is terrible ergonomics.
  • Had you actually read the article, you'd see he went you one better. The right kb rocks forward onto high-friction rubber feet when typing, then rocks back onto teflon feet when mousing. There's also a contact switch on the left side of the mouse that activates mouse mode. You won't get your pointer moving without your permission.
  • Look, the guy went to the trouble of showing you how his design works on his web site. You really ought to look it over before criticising. The kb is balanced on rubber feet. When you press the heel of your hand onto your mouse, it rocks towards you and glides on teflon feet just like the mouse you're using now. So, no, the kb isn't going to be skating around on you.
  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday May 21, 2001 @10:05AM (#208239) Homepage
    Then this [aol.com] would probably have given you an aneurism.

    (It's amazing etch-a-sketch art, not Mr. Goatsex)

    -B
  • Almost every good Quake player plays with the mouse. If you play with the keyboard only your going to be a very easy target!
  • >Sigh. Another neophyte gamer who thinks Quake
    >is the end-all be-all of video games.

    I've been playing computer games since the early 80's. I hardly think that makes me a neophyte.

    >The mouse is good for SOME video games

    Which was exactly my point. There are some (I would say quite a few) computer games that are difficult to use without a mouse.
  • do it right. This guy certainly put the legwork into researching his plan, and his comparisons of weight and center of gravity with the Microsoft Intellimouse are brilliant.

    When I first saw the device, I thought, "Nah, it's going to be way too heavy and awkward." He's already got the research done to make sure it isn't, and he does a great job of disproving a lot of problems that users like me would consider. In fact, his product demo on that page is better than the documentation that comes with a lot of the products I've purchased.

    Even if the mouse/kb combo concept doesn't take off, this guy deserves a great project management job somewhere. I'd love to write code for somebody who puts this kind of thought into their work.
  • by GlobalEcho (26240) on Monday May 21, 2001 @08:53AM (#208243)
    I yearn for the good old days when if you were talking about a keyboard and mouse, it meant Tom was trying to kill Jerry, who had hidden inside a piano. And Tom would play a damn good bit of Liszt trying to do it!
  • IBM used to make a "Spacesaver" version of the beloved Model M clicky-keyboards: proof-pictures are here. [unibase.com] Just a normal-looking keyboard but the number pad's gone. Keep checking the garage sales and other old-parts places, there are still a few of them out there...

    BRTB
  • no no no....

    its the g-spot.

    you see, it's right next to the g key....

  • ....PCKeyboard [pckeyboard.com] (the ex keyboard division of IBM and Lexmark) makes an interesting product [pckeyboard.com]. Of course, you can attach an external pointing device too.
  • A combination of a regular keyboard and a *foot mouse* would probably be more idea. Hands constantly stay on the keyboard, so there's no penalty for "context-switching" between mousing and typing. And you get a small multitasking bonus (typing while mouse moving).

    If they were CHEAPER [fentek-ind.com], I'd see a lot of people getting one.
  • YOU didn't think of it did you?

    Actually, I did. And if I had written it up in a print article, it would be prior art. Instead, I just thought "Now that's a stupid idea," and went on with my life.
    -russ
  • I'm too lazy to find the URL right now, but the part of IBM's website you want is their Almaden Research Center. They also did a ThinkPad keyboard with dual pointing sticks, which looks like it would be fun to use, but never made it to a production device.
  • You can usually find the boxes on ebay for not-too-much money. If you have a Tru64 machine, you can get sort-of support [compaq.com] for an SGI Dial and Button box on your machine.
  • I think this is the first design I've seen that adequately takes care of the mouse issue. I would first like to try it though.

    Any more betatesters needed for this design??
  • by p3d0 (42270)
    "the guy actually claims a patent on it (it's a split keyboard with a joystick. Let's not get full of ourselves ;)"

    YOU didn't think of it did you?

    Not to mention, Taco's wrong. It's not a split keyboard with a joystick. I don't understand why he would even post the story if that's all it was?
    --
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:59AM (#208254) Journal

    You normally use both thumbs for spaces. At the very least put it on the stationary side since is a very common key used.
  • Reaching for a mouse sucks, but the other half of that is playing a video game with anything besides a mouse is impossible.

    ... what, am I the only one who uses a trackball?

    inigima
  • Are editors on Slashdot afraid that if they report something that someone might actually be able to buy that they'll look like they've been bought off? Sheesh, I remember not too long ago Taco would openly state that if anyone sent him free stuff he would review it.
  • I thought it would be neat to put a trackball into a mouse for 4 degrees of movement, but recently I saw an IBM mouse with the little stick on it and thought that would actually be better!

    I only saw it in a picture though, and couldn't find it on IBM's web site. Anyone know anything else? It would be great for a first person shooter if you put an additional wheel and a few more buttons on it...

    -Adam

    ---Looking for people to market my in-home, do it yourself root canal kit---

    This sig 80% recycled bits, 20% post user.
  • I hope she doesn't live in California. one mild earthquake and all her work would be ruined!
  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2001 @08:50AM (#208259) Homepage Journal
    I always wanted to take apart an old mouse, and mount two dials on the front end of the keyboard.

    That way, you could have perfect orthogonal motion when doing CAD or drawing work. Doing diagonals will take some skill.

    The inspiration? The Etch-A-Sketch. I dunno, call it the Etch-A-Mouse.
  • One of the things that I like about mice is they are very exact. My hand can control their movement to the pixel. I joystick is very inexact. You can should way by your target. It is easy to go in a general direction but it is difficult to stop where you want. The same is true for the nibble that is so popular on many notebooks.

    What we need, of course, is a direct computer connection to our brains.

  • Whoops here's the correct post.

    One of the things that I like about mice is they are very exact. My hand can control their movement to the pixel. I joystick is very inexact. You can shoot way by your target. It is easy to go in a general direction but it is difficult to stop where you want. The same is true for the nibble that is so popular on many notebooks.

    What we need, of course, is a direct computer connection to our brains.

  • Doesn't say much for his research that he couldn't even get the keyboard layout correct. The number 6 is on the *WRONG* side of the keyboard... ala microsoft natural keyboard...
  • Here Here!

    *sniff* I miss my Ami more each day... :(

    --
    Later...
  • Unfortunately, I am so right handed that my left arm is this useless appendage that just hangs there. Seriously, I can touch-type, and catch a ball in a mitt with it, but the fine motor coordination in the left arm and wrist just isn't there.
  • I wasn't there, but I have been told that the original mouse invention by Doug Engelbart (then of SRI) was actually a device a lot like the right-hand side of the gadget seen here.

    Engelbart posited a chord-keyboard for use by one hand with a mouse ball underneath. I remember reading some results by Nat Rochester of IBM back in the 1970s in which he built a chord keyboard of exactly this sort (I got one and played with it in my lab ... it was very cool). The only problem with the chord keyboard is that it was no faster or easier to type with than a regular old QWERTY box, so it died away.

    Nonetheless, I'd be surprised if this invention is patentable in light of the original Engelbart invention which is substantially similar.

  • Um, I know next to nothing about this company, but this product [yahoo.com] sure sounds right for you, then! ;^
  • by ruhk (70494) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:39AM (#208267)
    I love this idea. I don't know how practical it is until I have one 'in hand', so to speak but It would go a ong way to help something that's been driving me nuts for a while. It was pointed out in Dilbert as a joke, but its the absolute truth:

    We have designed the modern PC for people with three hands.

    This becomes most apparent when you're working in 3d apps, like Lightwave, 3d Studio, Truespace, or the like. You've got one hand working the controls, one hand on the mouse and you wish you could have a third hand on the number pad.

    The other thing that drives me nuts on mice is the wheel. So my mouse maps X and Y axes to the standard motion of the mouse. Why can't I map the wheel to a Z axis? The best example of this is the Kensington TurboRing trackball. The 'wheel' is actually a ring set into the top of the trackball and indeed rotates about the Z-axis. Why don't 3d apps allow for this?

    Ignore the craze ravings of a 3d geek.


    --
  • I can't believe he moved the backspace key. I know that proper typing technique is to use your right thumb for the space bar, but since I had surgery on my right thumb while learning to type, it's been left thumb spacing for me. I could *never* use this keyboard layout. I'm sure that other people use the left thumb for the space as well. Grrrr...
  • by mach-5 (73873) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:35AM (#208269) Homepage
    Yes, I agree. I think some people use either or both thumbs for the space. This is why most ergonomic keyboards have two space bars, one on each side. It would be nice to see this designed with a space bar on both sides, and the backspace key moved to its normal position.
  • I saw above a person who has a medical reason to use the left tumb for spacing and the mention of lefty mouse use - I understand and feel for both since I am a left thumb spacer and a left mouse user so my .02 would be that a left handed version just use the mouse idea on the left and keep the space bar with the mouse portion.

    Is there a corelation between left thumb space bar use and left mouse use?

    Additionally my GF converted to lefty mouse use since it frees your right hand for arrow keys and number pad use. However, the keyboard presented does not allow for simultaneious mousing and number pading since in mouse mode some of the numbers from the number pad turn into mouse buttons unless you become a hack at switching between mouse and non mouse modes just to get some numbers entered...
  • During mouse mode the mouse buttons overide the integrated numeric keypad. When you remove your grip the mouse is disabled and then you can enter numeric keys.

    That's my point exactly - you can't do both at the same time - you can't be entereing numbers and move the mouse over to the next cell in a spread sheet to get a jump on entering the next set of numbers since your mouse action will overide the number pad keys. The posting and discussion around here seems to imply that this can provide a greater speed increase in your ability to get things from your head into the system and limiting users to an exclusive task (number crunching XOR mousing) seems to imply to me an increase in this time factor (if only for certain events just as spread sheet use and if only for users who can multitask their own hands).
  • Rats! I forgot to complain about how much I hate those extra cursor keys and not being able to find the CTRL, CAPS-LOCK, and ESC keys in the right place. Ah, nothing beats an old bulletproof, buckling-spring IBM AT keyboard.

    Thanks for the links. I really liked that programmable keyboard. It reminds me of the days when Borland's SuperKey used to work.
  • I would give this guy a million dollars if he would put the function keys back on the left side of the keyboard where they belong. This would surely save the world countless seconds by allowing programmers to once again touch type these keys, just like in the "good ol' days."

    No hurry. I still have enough IBM PC-AT keyboards to last me a hundred years.
  • playing a video game with anything besides a mouse is impossible.


    You mean like minesweeper? :)
    Playing a videogame is quite possible without a mouse, it's just that some are very hard without (or impossible like minesweeper, but someone could make a keyboard interface to that...). I think what you meant to say was that playing FPSs without a mouse is next to impossible. Oh and what about the console people among us? They use controllers, not mice.
    </RANT>

  • I would, if my trackball wasn't designed so that using it with the right hand was the only possible way. Still, it's a damn cool mouse. (Logitech Trackman Marble Cordless)

    ----
  • Back when dinosaurs walked the earth, most Tektronix terminals operated this way. They were called "thumbwheels" and were at the left end of the keyboard. I think I had a color VT terminal that used the same setup as well.
  • About 10% of the population is left handed and would have a difficult time adapting to this thing. Even now after years of computer use I can't control a mouse pointer with my right hand with even a modicum of accuracy (I end up going up and left if I'm trying to go left, and down and right if I'm trying to go right.. drives me bonkers until I switch the mouse.)

    Someone needs to perfect the eye tracking thing. A cross-hair cursor that tracks your eye and "mouse" buttons on the keyboad might actually work. Other than that the mouse is probably the best input device we're gonna get for windowing GUIs. (focus follows cursor style X11 desktops would probably suck for this though)
  • therefore, an exclusive right to distribute and/or license its design seems appropriate.

    I agree with you that this is definitely an innovation that deserves some recognition. However, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "appropriate". Just because it's not software does not mean that a patent that ensures "exclusive right ot distribute" is good. I believe that open hardware is just as important -- the same sort of advances that are possible in a software world free of patents are also possible in a hardware world free of patents.

  • wtf?
    • A waterproof/foodproof keyboard -- been done
    • A keyboard that rolls up -- been done
    On top of that it's cumbersome to use, you have to push the keys extra hard to make them work, making it anything but ergonomic.
  • The only really innovative keyboard design I have seen has been the Plycon Flex Keyboard as reviewed in this VH Review.

    You can't really be meaning that? Why the sinclair spectrum could also be used as a rubber. Comeon, if that isn't innovative, I'll eat my shorts!

    - Steeltoe
  • I could be wrong, but who else thinks that pushing around the entire right half of a keyboard is inviting carpal tunnel syndrome?

    And yeah, you will not be using this for Quake any time soon.

    I just love our President [toostupidt...sident.com] - he's so not bright.
  • The web site mentions that the future plans for the device call for the mouse section to be wireless. The strap minght actually be a good idea, but a pin if you have to scratch your nose quick. I could really see people gouging thier eyes out if it's strapped to thier hand when they go to pick thier nose.
    =\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\
  • This is a little off-topic. What is the deal with some of the new ergonomic keyboards that have changed the layout of the Insert, Page Up, Home, etc. buttons? The normal configuration is 2 down and 3 across. I got a new Micron and it came with the buttons 3 down and 2 across. I hesitate to mention it, but it is a Microsoft keyboard. Another fiendish plot or just poor engineering?

    Nate
  • You obviously never played Zarch on the Acorn Archimedes. One of the best games I've ever played: great control system (really sorts out the men from the boys) and good gameplay.. easily spiced up with a cheat module!! There is a binary only version for linux in the making, but I haven't seen much change over the last year.

    It was quite a feat though to control a spacecraft in three dimensions using the mouse, and not everyone could do it. But great when you could.

  • I don't want to seem to be a troll here. But I've had experiences with the small company that has a patent trying to get money out of a large company that is producing a knock off.

    Here's how it goes down. You serve them with papers. You meet and say "You're stealing my idea." They respond "We've looked at your finacial standing, you don't have the means to defend your patent. Good day."

    Patents protect large companies, and pad lawyers pockets, they do nothing to protect the small inventor.
  • by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:01AM (#208286) Homepage Journal
    Ok ... I watched the video and that was enough. There is no way I can type on a moveable mini-keypad that also acts as a mouse when moved. Maybe others have no problem keeping a light, mobile square stable while reaching for a top- or bottom-row key... This thing would drive me nuts.

    To each his (ambiguous masculine third person pronoun includes both genders...and transgenders, I suppose) own.

    BTW, I'm the kind that loves the point-stick (I'm not using the N-word in my posts!) to the extent that I only consider laptops with the point-stick as an option. Kinda narrows down the choices, but at least I can choose between IBM and Toshiba models. (I've owned the Workpad z50 and, currently, a Toshiba Satellite 2805).
    --

  • by ShrikeDOA (118272)
    Seems like a bad idea to me. The mouse needs to be smooth enough to give fluid motion. But then when you try to type on it, it's going to slide all over the place. It almost needs little brakes triggered by the mode button, though that's gonna be tricky.

    Plus you need a heck of a lot more mouse-pad real-estate, as the keyboard bit will be bumping into stuff.

    Frankly i don't feel i lose much efficiency taking that quarter second to move my hand to the mouse...
  • http://www.asktog.com/readerMail/1999-12ReaderMail .html
    .oO0Oo.
  • yeah.... like 20 or something, damn old farts.
    Want some indy electronic (and other) music?
  • by Electric Angst (138229) on Monday May 21, 2001 @08:46AM (#208295)

    The really amusing part is watching the counter at the top of the guy's site. When I first hit it, it was at 27. I reloaded about ten seconds later, and it was at 99.

    It's like watching a Slashdotting in action...


    --
  • now not only I'll bang my mouse when I'll be pissed getting fragged in quake, I'll bang the keyboard at the same time, double the frustration releive in one single shot, the one who claims that isn't worth a patent is a complete idiot

  • Yes.

    I am, however, pretty accustomed to the old Compaq laptops that had the trackball in the LCD display. I'd take that over a damn touch-pad any day.

    --

  • by edp (171151) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:27AM (#208303) Homepage

    "... keeping a light, mobile square stable ..."

    It pivots slightly so that when the hand rests on it in a typing position, a high-friction rubber foot holds it in place. When the hand moves to the mouse position, it moves on low-friction Teflon sliders.

  • The original IBM/MS standard was Shift+Delete, Ctrl+Insert, Shift+Insert. Horrible, but still mostly supported in Windows.

    Apple had a alternate standard of F1/F2/F3, which was very nice for mouse-oriented tasks such as drawing programs. Too bad it was never widely supported, even on MacOS.
  • Look on eBay for an "IBM TrackPoint II" keyboard, which is an old skool clickity Model M keyboard with a clit. Comes in white and black.

    (I highly recommend it because it's helped my wrists a ton, primarily due to the mechanical action, but also because the trackpoint is good enough for minor web mousing without moving your hand. Only problem is that scroll mice don't work with the PS/2 passthru, so if you want both a trackpoint and a fancy mouse, make sure the mouse is USB.)
  • Some software comes with work arounds for this. For example, in Photoshop, if you hold down the shift key, your lines snap to the nearest orthogonal direction. I assume something like this could also be written into mouse drivers so that holding a combination of keys will make your mouse only move in certain directions.
  • by boaworm (180781) <boaworm@gmail.com> on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:24AM (#208311) Homepage Journal
    This mouse obviousy solves some problems. You dont have to reach for the mouse when you want to use it. Its alread available. But is this all good ?

    More and more people are getting fysical injuries when sitting in front of a computer. Is that because they stretch for the mouse, and then back to the keyboard ? (ie _moves_)... no its all the static movement... yes!

    Furthermore, what kind of mouse do you perfer to use ? What kind of keyboard ? I personly fancy those "broken" keyboards form MS and Logitech, since they relax both hands, neck and shoulders. The same goes for the mouse. I use a logitech mouseman wheel simply because it supports the hand and gives a very relaxing working position. Any ordinary plain simple mouse gives me the creeps in less then 10 minutes.

    We need to move more, not less...

  • by ichimunki (194887) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:07AM (#208318)
    How young do you have to be to think this way? The only decent video game I've ever played with a mouse was Arkanoid-- and then only because a mouse is basically an inverted trackball. For anything else I'd rather have a regular old keyboard or a joystick (and in some cases two joysticks). Maybe a steering wheel for racing games, but those play fine with joysticks too.
  • An innovative idea, not an algorithmic patent... as far as Im concerned this deserves a patent.
  • from watching the video, it definetly looks like the right handed side of the keyboard will slide around much too easily for any form of speed typing.

    The inventor has solved this problem by making it so that the right handed side of the keyboard acts like a mouse only when a contact switch is pressed. (Check out this Overview sketch [optusnet.com.au].)

  • by Auckerman (223266) on Monday May 21, 2001 @09:01AM (#208332)
    "the guy actually claims a patent on it (it's a split keyboard with a joystick. Let's not get full of ourselves ;)"

    YOU didn't think of it did you? How bout anyone else here. Go look at the page, look at his designs, look at the consideration he's put into this and come back and tell me its not an invention. It is. Not calling this an invention is like calling a light bulb "just a piece of wire headed by electricity...for peats sake haven't you seen lightning light up the sky".

  • I think it's true that it's hard to convert the mainstream user - I would still be typing on my old klik-klak IBM keyboard if it wasn't for my CTS.

    However, from what I heard, it can be damn expensive, if one or more of your employees get wrist problems from typing - they can't continue work, and demand insurance or compensation. One of my friends worked for the the Danish railway system, doing some slave typing tasks, got CTS and ended up getting over three times as much in compensation as he got in wages, the three months he was there... and he's still getting money coming in every month (ok, that's Denmark).

    I use a Datahand [datahand.com], and they claim that some companies [datahand.com] have experienced increased productivity (up to 13% gain) on heavy duty typing tasks from using their keyboard. Ie. more productivity, less chance of employees getting wrist problems from investing in an alternative input device. If employers aren't insisting on their typers/coders using ergonomic input devices, it can cost them money AND the employees their health (and yes, CTS does suck).

    -Kraft
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else think it's strange that out of the hundreds of Wintel mouse/keyboard combinations on the market, none of them combine the keyboard and mouse data into a single stream? Is it really that hard to embed mouse movement into the keyboard serial port?
  • by cavemanf16 (303184) on Monday May 21, 2001 @08:53AM (#208352) Homepage Journal
    Interesting, but nothing new really. Just like all other 'inovative' keyboards, this one will be useful for the carpal tunnel folk, but won't convert the mainstream user. The keyboard is about the least improved part of a computer ever, so I doubt anything will change until we get telepathy-enabled computers. In fact, the keyboard has been around since typewriters, so why would we ever change the design? The only really innovative keyboard design I have seen has been the Plycon Flex Keyboard [216.157.14.244] as reviewed in this VH Review [virtualhideout.net].
  • There have been mice with integrated keypads for quite some time for use in CAD applications, but they never seem to have caught on much.

    In my book, for efficiency and compactness, the IBM Trackpoint is still the best way to go. It takes a while to become good at using it and feel comfortable with it (and many users give up before then), but once you are used to it, it's great. Note that the Trackpoint is different from the pointing sticks found on Toshiba machines and some other imitators; those are really awful.

Always think of something new; this helps you forget your last rotten idea. -- Seth Frankel

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