Apple granted patent for gimballed scroll wheel
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apple granted patent for gimballed scroll wheel


Apple has been granted a patent (number 8274479) by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a gimballed scroll wheel. An input device that includes both a movement detector, such as mechanical switch, and positional indicator, such as touch pad touch screen, and/or touch sensing housing is disclosed.

These two input devices can be used substantially simultaneously to provide a command to the device. In this manner, different commands can be associated with depressing a moveable member in different areas and a single moveable member can perform like several buttons.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Several kinds of input devices are known for performing operations in a computing device. Some examples of input devices include buttons, switches, keyboards, mice, trackballs, touch pads, joy sticks, touch screens and the like. Each of these devices has advantages and disadvantages that may be taken into account when designing an input apparatus for a computing device. The operations generally include moving a cursor and selecting items displayed on a display screen. The operations may also include paging, scrolling, panning, zooming, etc.

"Some input devices are better configured to perform certain functions than other input devices. For example, touch pads and touch screens are useful for providing location information and buttons are useful for indicating selections. Since most computing devices perform several different functions, a combination of different input devices that are able to provide input in different manners is often desired.

"In addition, many computing devices are designed to be portable, for example, media players, remote controls, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones, etc. Designing input devices for these portable devices presents some unique problems. For example, there is typically a push to increase the ability and, thus, the number of functions that these portable computing devices are able to perform.

"As the number of operations that these portable devices perform increases, the number of controls desired to control these operations and the complexity of these controls also typically increase. A competing concern is that there is also pressure to make portable computing devices smaller, and thus, more portable. However, as the size of these devices decreases, the amount of space in which to locate input devices also decreases. Accordingly, a need exists for compact input device configurations that can be used to control a variety of different functions in a variety of different manners.

"Described herein are exemplary embodiments of devices, including computing devices, that use at least two different input devices substantially simultaneously to generate a single command. One example of two different input devices may include a movement detector, such as a mechanical switch, and a position indicator, such as a touch pad or touch screen. By using such different input devices in combination, the number of operations that can be controlled by these two input devices can be increased. In addition, the benefits associated with each of these two different input devices can be used while making the command. These input devices may also be layered, one on top of the other, further decreasing the amount of space on a device used by the input devices.

"In some embodiments the input device may include a movement detector, such as a dome switch, placed under a platform that includes a position indicator. The device can then use the movement of the platform in making selections. Since this movement can be felt by a user of the device, this configuration allows the device to give tactile feedback to the user while the user is making a selection. This tactile feedback can further be improved by configuring the device to provide a "click" sensation when the platform is depressed.

"When the platform is depressed or otherwise moved by a user's finger (or stylus or other device), a movement detector can detect this movement. In this manner, the platform operates as a button. In some embodiments the entire platform may be depressed. In other embodiments, a portion of the platform may be depressed, causing the platform to tilt or "gimbal."

"A position indicator can be configured to indicate the position on the platform that has been acted on by the user's finger or other device. Examples of a position indicator include a touch pad and a touch screen. The touch pad or touch screen can be located directly on the platform.

A processor can then be configured to generate a single command that is dependent on both the input from the movement detector and the input from the position indicator. In this manner, different commands can be associated with depressing the platform in different locations, enabling a single platform to provide the functionality of multiple buttons.

"Unlike a touch pad or touch screen or non-mechanical sensor alone, this configuration allows the user to receive the tactile feedback associated with buttons while making selections. Further, the number of mechanical movement indicators and the amount of space on a device used for issuing selections can be decreased.

"Embodiments of an input device may include a platform suspended on a single flexible member. The flexible member may, for example, be in the shape of a bubble that presses the platform against a housing. The flexible member allows the platform to be tilted 360 degrees about an axis. A movement detector can be configured to detect the movement of the movable platform relative to the housing. The platform also may include a variety of components including a position sensing device to detect the position of a user's finger on the platform when the platform is tilted or depressed.

"Examples of devices that may use the input devices described herein include media players, desktop computers, laptop computers, keyboard units, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones, and remote controls."

The inventors are Christopher D. Prest, Fletcher Rothkopf and Richard Hung Minh Dinh.

 
AAPL
$99.02
Apple Inc.
+1.35
GOOG
$590.60
Google Inc.
+1.58
MSFT
$43.97
Microsoft Corpora
-0.53
MacNews Search:
Community Search:

Latest Forum Discussions

See All
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Traps n’ Gemstones Review
Traps n’ Gemstones Review By Campbell Bird on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASTLEVANIA JONESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fight mummies, dig tunnels, and ride a runaway minecart to discover ancient secrets in this throwback exploration game.   | Read more »
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review
The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Review By Jordan Minor on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: GHOSTS BUSTEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Phantom PI is an exceedingly clever and well-crafted adventure game.   | Read more »
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a Ne...
More Stubies Are Coming Your Way in a New Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
The Great Prank War Review
The Great Prank War Review By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PRANKING IS SERIOUS BUSINESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Though short, The Great Prank War offers an interesting and fun mix of action and tower defense. Get your fish out.   | Read more »
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at...
Marvel Contest of Champions Announced at Comic-Con Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Announced over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con was the fairly exciting looking Marvel Contest of Champions. | Read more »
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review By Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DULL SWIPINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The pizza power is weak when it comes to this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.   | Read more »
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbudd...
Exploration Focused Puzzle Game Beatbuddy Set to Make Transition from PC to iOS this September Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
PlanetHD
PlanetHD By Nadia Oxford on July 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SPACE MADNESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad PlanetHD will keep players busy for a while, though its unpredictable physics are a handful to deal with.   | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: July 21-25, 2014
Another Week of Expert App Reviews   At 148Apps, we help you sort through the great ocean of apps to find the ones we think you’ll like and the ones you’ll need. Our top picks become Editor’s Choice, our stamp of approval for apps with that little extra something special. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a... | Read more »
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client (...
Reddme for iPhone - The Reddit Client 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: News Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Reddme for iPhone is an iOS 7-optimized Reddit client that offers a refreshing new way to experience Reddit on your iPhone. Sporting a gorgeous, intuitive design and packing more amazing features than we can... | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.