USB keyboard (was Re: Posible Bluetooth Keyboard)

kenneth marken k-marken at
Wed Jul 9 06:46:42 CEST 2008

On Wednesday 09 July 2008 04:38:07 Shawn Rutledge wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 6:48 PM, Jeremy List <quick_dudley at> 
> > 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.

now thats a interesting tought. and with the freerunners ability to make use 
of usb as a host, it could maybe power something like this:

it could be fun if a freerunner housing came with such a cording setup, and a 
training app for people to get used to it.

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