USB keyboard (was Re: Posible Bluetooth Keyboard)

Shawn Rutledge shawn.t.rutledge at
Wed Jul 9 04:38:07 CEST 2008

On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 6:48 PM, Jeremy List <quick_dudley at> wrote:
> I'm think a one-handed keyboard on the back of a freerunner would be a
> great thing. Frogpad has the disadvantage that it needs a different
> model depending on what hand you plan to use to type on it: I'm pretty
> sure I could design something similar that doesn't have that limitation.

Several buttons along the edges would be enough - one for each finger
and 2 or 3 thumb-buttons, or a rocker for the thumb.  You can still
come up with enough chords to type, or, just use them as menu-buttons
to select word ranges, kindof analogous to Dasher.

A long time ago I read about a research project along these lines at
Xerox Parc (which actually occurred even longer ago).  They were using
big round infrared blasters on the ceiling as uplinks into a network,
and people were carrying around these pager-sized devices with buttons
along the edge (and simple 2-line LCD displays), and you could do
2-way messaging anywhere on campus when one of the IR gateways was
within range.  But I thought the text input method was the most
interesting aspect of it.  You only need several buttons to do it, so
it can be ergonomic if the buttons are shaped nicely and are kindof
firm (your fingers stay on the same buttons all the time, you just
press them in different patterns).  And it would be very cheap to
implement.  The thumb buttons could be used for something else in the
word-entry mode, but there could also be an alphanumeric chording mode
(like the Bat keyboard).  I think this was done long enough ago that
if there were any patents, they probably expired by now.

If there were a keyboard on the back, how could you hold the phone and
at the same time press keys on the back?

But you could hold it by the edges and push buttons along the edges at
the same time.

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