Feeds

back to article Apple seeks patent for keyboard that sucks

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 …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
Coat

An Apple patent?

Prior art!!1!

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.

3
0

Patent #745839275894

A method for responding to a reverse-troll post.

- Apple Inc.

2
0

Definitely prior art out there ...

... I have used lots of keyboards that suck!

7
0
Headmaster

Prior art

The Pneumatic Player Piano, circa 1880.

0
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Finally!!!

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.

12
0
Stop

I think you'll find Yamaha already patented that

Or perhaps Steinway and Sons when manufacturing their Piano Forte....

1
0
Boffin

Re: I think you'll find Yamaha already patented that

Nope.

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.

0
0
Silver badge

And unfortunately the step can be quite small

Prior art on a full-size keyboard is suddenly novel if applied to a cell phone.

0
0
FAIL

@ PaulR79

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.

0
0
Flame

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.

2
0
Thumb Up

adequate?

Accept no compromise, what you really need is a Model M

*Like this one 1985and stillgoingstrong thoughthe space bar can be a bit flaky.)

4
0

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

1
0
Joke

hahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

I''''''''''''''''mmmmm ttryyinnnngg oooooooonneeeeeee ooooooooooooooffffffffff teehhhhheeeeeeeessssssssssee oooooooouuuuutttttttttttttttt rrrrriiiiiiiiigggggghhhtttttttttt nnnnnnnooooooooooowwwwwww,,,,,,,,,, hhhhhooooooooooowwwweeeeeeevvvvveeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrr,,, ttttttthhhhhheeeeeeeeeeee vvvvvvaaaaaacccccccuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmm tttttthhhhhhiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggg nnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeddddddsssss aaaaaaaaaaa bbbiiiiiittttttttttttttttttt oooofffffffffffffffffffffff wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwoooooorrrrkkkkk

19
0
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

and another cup of tea goes over the keyboard

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1
0
Silver badge
Pint

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).

1
0
Bronze badge

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.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

go samsung

Samsung were bragging about their nano silver coating sanitizing their keyboards. Get it while you can until they figure out it causes cancer.

0
0
WTF?

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?

7
0
Silver badge

worse than sandwitch crumbs!

Cheeto residue.

0
0

Smoking Cheeto residue?

Wow, that s**t's strong, man!

2
0
Thumb Up

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.

3
0
Silver badge

wtf

have you ever seen a compressor?

what volume of air needs to be moved? how many keystrokes per minute???

monstrous harbles

2
1
Happy

compressor

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!

0
0
Coat

Brilliant

A keyboard that blows the crumbs out by itself..

8
0
Silver badge

French?

It farts in your general direction

9
0
Coffee/keyboard

I'm waiting for the Mark II

I want a keyboard that pumps the coffee back into the mug.

0
0
Silver badge

During the meanwhile ...

I'll stick to my IBM Model Ms ... Nobody has ever built a better keyboard for touch-typists.

5
0
Silver badge

Yes, model m, very good.

But I bet you haven't tried tried "Das Keyboard." I promise you, it is better, (but expensive)

0
0
Joke

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.

1
0

Big yawn

Pretty sure this was stolen from the ZX81 keyboard. Well, a worn one, anyway.

1
1
Silver badge
Thumb Up

sort of

I was thinking the spectrum. Those rubber keys farted air on you when they started splitting.

1
0
Dead Vulture

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.

7
3
Anonymous Coward

Really Rik

"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?

3
19
Happy

missing tag?

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.

2
0
Silver badge

Wait, what?

An Apple patent, on buttons?

Doesn't El Steve-o have some kind of pathological aversion to them?

1
0
Thumb Up

well actually

it's intended for use on the new Apple Simple Keyboard. WIth just 6 Keys. For the Simple people with Apple computers ;)

0
0
Pint

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.

0
0
Joke

Ahhhh!

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?

5
0
Silver badge

where do yoo file?

USPTO, obviously

You may need to add a smugness detector (like that of Marvin the paranoid android)

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

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.

0
0
FAIL

So you want a monitor which has lots of holes in it?

Type your comment here -- plain text only, no HTML

0
0
FAIL

Hmm...

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR, but louder!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

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"

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=D599,372.PN.&OS=PN/D599,372&RS=PN/D599,372

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.

2
1
Thumb Down

@+++ath0: Get out much?

http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os

There ya go. Nothing more to complain about, I guess.

0
0
Jobs Halo

Pfft

"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.

2
1
Boffin

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 pump:

http://www-mtl.mit.edu/research/annual_reports/2006/pdf/ms/ms_137.pdf

MEMs pressure sensor:

http://www.aero.org/publications/helvajian/helvajian-3.html

MEMs ultrasonic transducer (could be used as a proximity sensor)

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel5%2F10674%2F33678%2F01602897.pdf%3Farnumber%3D1602897&authDecision=-203

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? :-)

2
0
Vic
Silver badge

Are they mad?

Pneumatic systems in keyboards?

That's not going to get leaky/noisy/broken in short order...

Vic.

0
0
Paris Hilton

Blows and sucks?

Paris - for obvious reasons.

2
0
Silver badge
WTF?

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.

0
0
DJV
Joke

Yeah, but...

...will they ever get this technology working on holographically projected keyboards?

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.