Apple has applied for a patent that describes a novel method for improving the tactile feedback of ultra-thin keyboards: each key emits a puff of air when either approached or touched, and can be pneumatically sucked downward in response to touch. When we discovered patent application number 20110107958, "Input devices and …
An Apple patent?
Errr... Hang on, I guess it is extremely unlikely that there will be prior art in something that weird. I guess every rule does have an exception, then. I'll get my coat.
A method for responding to a reverse-troll post.
- Apple Inc.
Definitely prior art out there ...
... I have used lots of keyboards that suck!
The Pneumatic Player Piano, circa 1880.
Now we can have a keyboard that detects how hard a key is pressed and go from normal, to bold, to caps then increase the font depending on the rage .... I mean pressure applied. Angry caps lock typists rejoice.
I think you'll find Yamaha already patented that
Or perhaps Steinway and Sons when manufacturing their Piano Forte....
Re: I think you'll find Yamaha already patented that
The US patent system is broken in many ways. One of the ways it's broken is that taking existing technology and applying that to a new field can be patentable (or so I'm told, by patent attorneys). So although "keys that do different levels depending on how far you push them" is well-known in the "musical instruments" field, it might well be novel and patentable in the "computer / phone keyboards" field.
And unfortunately the step can be quite small
Prior art on a full-size keyboard is suddenly novel if applied to a cell phone.
Errr... no we don't. Nowhere does the article mention that the keyboard registers the ferocity with which the user has struck the keyboard.... although that would be easy to do with some strain gauges mounted under the keys.
A patent for an actual physical invention... kind of refreshing. Of course as one other pointed out here they don't actually know how to do it in a slim keyboard... so although it CAN be done the keyboard probably would be more bulky than a full stroke job... kind of counter-productive this.
And maybe not...
I'm all for advances in technology, where-ever it may be found. Maybe this will come of age sometime, but if it's designed for low-profile devices, that tends to indicate low-power devices too. Won't this require more power?
Regardless, I find the tactile feedback of a Thinkpad keyboard perfectly adequate, and much better than most desktop keyboards.
Accept no compromise, what you really need is a Model M
*Like this one 1985and stillgoingstrong thoughthe space bar can be a bit flaky.)
IBM model M
Pop the spacebar off and make sure the guide rods are in their track. It's a common problem and I fix like 10/week
I''''''''''''''''mmmmm ttryyinnnngg oooooooonneeeeeee ooooooooooooooffffffffff teehhhhheeeeeeeessssssssssee oooooooouuuuutttttttttttttttt rrrrriiiiiiiiigggggghhhtttttttttt nnnnnnnooooooooooowwwwwww,,,,,,,,,, hhhhhooooooooooowwwweeeeeeevvvvveeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrr,,, ttttttthhhhhheeeeeeeeeeee vvvvvvaaaaaacccccccuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmm tttttthhhhhhiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggg nnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddsssss aaaaaaaaaaa bbbiiiiiittttttttttttttttttt oooofffffffffffffffffffffff wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwoooooorrrrkkkkk
and another cup of tea goes over the keyboard
Hmmm, that gives me an idea
A keyboard that can detect incomming tea/coffee/beer and turn up the blowers in the keyboard to divert the liquid away from the keys.
(of course you'd need another setting for drying your face off afterwards).
Looks like you need a modified keyboard...
One that will be organic/self-cleaning, hahaha In the hands of SOME fans, it will NEED to be self-cleaning and self-sanitising, hehehe.
Samsung were bragging about their nano silver coating sanitizing their keyboards. Get it while you can until they figure out it causes cancer.
Will it still work...
...when full of crumbs and other bits from eating my lunch at my desk. This one may cope with that even less than the one with the transparent 'crumb tray'.
P.S. WTF are they smoking and can I have some?
worse than sandwitch crumbs!
Smoking Cheeto residue?
Wow, that s**t's strong, man!
I am going to disagree with the reg on this one
This is actually likely to work and provide feedback even on keyboards that are even thinner than those which apple ships with nowdays Macs. It is also inventive (for once) and original.
have you ever seen a compressor?
what volume of air needs to be moved? how many keystrokes per minute???
I know I'll patent an idea of a device which is really small and can both blow and suck, and of course it'll use some kind of really small tubing moulded into the thin keyboard or something like that.
From what I can gather I don't actually need to provide information on how it actually works, just what it does.
Then when Apple realise they need something to do that then they'll have to pay me. Kaching!
A keyboard that blows the crumbs out by itself..
It farts in your general direction
I'm waiting for the Mark II
I want a keyboard that pumps the coffee back into the mug.
During the meanwhile ...
I'll stick to my IBM Model Ms ... Nobody has ever built a better keyboard for touch-typists.
Yes, model m, very good.
But I bet you haven't tried tried "Das Keyboard." I promise you, it is better, (but expensive)
re: During the meanwhile...
Is that what they're for? With the amount of force you need to apply to press each key, I thought they were input devices for rock climbers looking to strengthen their forearms. Not to mention being loud enough that people in the office next door know every time you press a key.
That being said, it's the only keyboard I know of that doubles as a personal protection device.
Pretty sure this was stolen from the ZX81 keyboard. Well, a worn one, anyway.
I was thinking the spectrum. Those rubber keys farted air on you when they started splitting.
I know it's Apple but...
This sounds awesome. They could put little whistles on the vents so your keyboard can sing while you type.
"if it had been filed on April 1"
Are you now going even farther into the abyss of cashing in on Apple name by poking fun at perfectly good patents?
I am not sure why people would give you a thumbs down on this post, Oh yes you seem to have missed the "/sarcasm" tag for those who are a bit slow/hungover on a Sunday morning.
An Apple patent, on buttons?
Doesn't El Steve-o have some kind of pathological aversion to them?
it's intended for use on the new Apple Simple Keyboard. WIth just 6 Keys. For the Simple people with Apple computers ;)
Sounds to me like...
.... a rather clever way of doing way with springs and whatnot. I rather hope it has 'cleaning mode' which will blow crumbs out.
1. sit in front of iDevice
2. emit self-satisfied smug 'ahhhh!'
3. smug sensors activate an air blast from all keys and the lid pops open automatically
Where do I file?
where do yoo file?
You may need to add a smugness detector (like that of Marvin the paranoid android)
Hating to like the idea but...
Isn't this more useful for something like a touch-screen with a virtual keyboard? A touchscreen which can give tactile information on the keys would certainly be very valuable.
So you want a monitor which has lots of holes in it?
Type your comment here -- plain text only, no HTML
BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, but louder!
At least there is real creativity in this patent
Unlike this other for patent for "Graphical user interface for a display screen of a communications terminal"
No this one was not awarded to Apple, but to a well known company in Mountain View, California famous for it's search engine, dubious privacy concerns and an open source operating system for which you can't get the source.
@+++ath0: Get out much?
There ya go. Nothing more to complain about, I guess.
"Nowhere in the filing, however, is a discussion of how all this keystroke-enhancing technology can be fit into a keyboard without making it bulkier than it would be otherwise, even though the solutions it proposes are specifically targeted at enhancing tactile feedback in low-profile devices"
It goes without saying, sir, that this device would also generate a Reality Distortion Field which would effortlessly reduce the volume of this pneumatic machinery. Furthermore, the hissing noises it generates will sound friendly and not snake-like.
Actually its very feasible
Actually, all the technology to achieve this has already been invented and is in some cases already mature. Most of it will be based on MEMs (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) which is basically technology which can implement moving parts on a microscopic scale, usually (but not always) implemented on silicon. Examples of these technologies:
MEMs pressure sensor:
MEMs ultrasonic transducer (could be used as a proximity sensor)
To me this is perfectly feasible, and could probably done in a cost effective way (thanks to economies of scale). The real question is why would you want to? a technology that sucks and blows.. well don't the big bad MS have the monopoly on that? :-)
Are they mad?
Pneumatic systems in keyboards?
That's not going to get leaky/noisy/broken in short order...
Blows and sucks?
Paris - for obvious reasons.
If only money was no object...
How expensive will this make Apple keyboards? Their systems (particularly the laptops) are already highly priced. Longevity has already been raised as a concern (but then again, some have suggested they might be self cleansing), however more parts means more expensive and more things that can go wrong.
Maybe I'm a heathen but I don't see what is wrong with the tactile feedback in Apple's present keyboards. Yes I'm a touch-typist... not the fastest but I'm no seek-and-peck button pusher. Usually these low-profile keyboards are mainly used where space *is* limited such as on laptops. While some of us would love an IBM Model M style keyboard (buckling springs) on such a machine, there are many scenarios when such keyboards are inappropriate.
...will they ever get this technology working on holographically projected keyboards?