|Publication number||USRE41443 E1|
|Application number||US 11/328,496|
|Publication date||Jul 20, 2010|
|Priority date||Aug 11, 2000|
|Also published as||CN1169335C, CN1338855A, DE60142101D1, EP1179767A2, EP1179767A3, EP1179767B1, US6704005, US20020021280|
|Publication number||11328496, 328496, US RE41443 E1, US RE41443E1, US-E1-RE41443, USRE41443 E1, USRE41443E1|
|Inventors||Katsumi Kato, Yasuji Hagiwara, Masahiro Soma, Tadamitsu Sato|
|Original Assignee||Alps Electric Co., Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (1), Classifications (48), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of priority to Japanese patent application No.: 2000- 243779, which was filed on Aug. 11, 2000.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to an input device which allows a button input operation and a coordinate input operation to be performed in the same operation plane.
2. Description of the Related Art
An input device, such as a portable telephone, includes, for example, a pushbutton input, and can be used to perform various operations, such as inputting a telephone number and starting/ending talking on the telephone.
In recent years, internet connecting environments making use of portable telephones increased, so that various services are being provided using portable telephones. Accordingly, various menus are displayed on displays of portable telephones, and menu selections are frequently made.
When menu selections are being made using conventional input devices, a menu selectable location is moved by a push-type or a stick-type direction-indicating input which is provided separately of the pushbutton input of a portable telephone.
However, the operability of the above-described conventional input device is impaired because the pushbutton input operation and the menu selection input operation are carried out using different input mechanisms. In addition, the conventional input device has difficultly allowing quick menu selection because the directions in which menus are moved are limited to the vertical directions (upward and downward directions) or the horizontal directions (leftward and rightward directions).
Accordingly, in order to overcome the above-described problems, it is an object of the present invention to provide an input device which allows a predetermined input section to be pressed and which allows cursor movement when, for example, carrying out menu selection, without impairing the operability of the input device.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an input device which makes it possible for an operator to reliably know that he/she has pressed the input device.
To these ends, according to a basic form of the present invention, there is provided an input device comprising a planar input that allows a coordinate input operation; indicator section provided at a surface of the planar input, the indicator section indicating a plurality of input sections; and a control section that generates an operation signal in accordance with an input signal that the control section has received from the planar input. When the input device is set in a predetermined input mode, the control section detects that any one of the input sections has been touched, and generates an operation signal in accordance with a prescribed item of the input section. On the other hand, when the input device is set in another mode, the control section recognizes the input signal from the planar input as coordinate data regardless of what is indicated at the touched input section.
In the basic form, the operation of any one of the input sections and the input operation of coordinate data that is carried out without considering the input section can be carried out in the same operational plane. Therefore, large movements of fingers are not required, so that the operability of the input device is not impaired.
In one form of the basic form of the present invention, the input device further comprises a display mechanism disposed beside the planar input. When the input device is set in the another mode, the display mechanism provides a display in correspondence with the coordinate data.
In still another form of the basic form of the present invention, the input device further comprises a tactile feedback generator that provides a pressing reaction force produced when any one of the input sections formed at the indicator section is pressed.
The input device may comprise a plurality of the tactile feedback generators that are separately provided at locations in correspondence with the input sections formed at the indicator section.
The tactile feedback generator may be provided at only one location at the back side of the planar input. Furthermore, the tactile feedback generator may be formed using dome-shaped inversion plates disposed at the back side of the planar input.
By virtue of this structure, the operator can know that he/she has performed a pressing operation, so that it is possible to prevent, for example, the operator from forgetting to perform the pressing operation. Therefore, it is possible for the operator to reliably perform the pressing operation.
When the tactile feedback generator is formed using dome-shaped inversion plates disposed at the back side of the planar input, a switch input operation may be performed by the inversion plates.
In this case, since the switch input operation is not performed until any one of the inversion plates is inverted, it is possible to prevent an input operation when the indicator section is only touched.
In one embodiment, shown in
For the planar input unit 4, a capacitance type or a pressure-sensitive type may be mounted. In the capacitance type planar input unit, an X-direction detecting electrode and a Y-direction detecting electrode, both of which are formed of a conducting material such as Ag (silver) paste, oppose each other in a matrix arrangement. An insulating sheet with a predetermined dielectric constant is sandwiched between the X-direction detecting electrode and the Y-direction detecting electrode. The insulating sheet may be a resin sheet formed of, for example, PET (polyethylene terephthalate). By disposing the insulating resin sheet and the electrodes on a substrate having an electrically conductive pattern formed on a second resin sheet, the input unit 4 may be bendable. This makes it possible to input a coordinate when a dielectric member, such as the operator's finger, touches the surface of the planar input unit 4.
The pressure-sensitive type planar input unit includes a resistor having a potential difference provided in the X and Y directions, and a conductor member opposing the resistor. When the input unit 4 is pressed with, for example, the operator's finger, the conductor member and the resistor are brought into contact with each other, thereby changing the resistance value. This makes it possible to input a coordinate.
An indicator sheet (indicator section) 7 is placed upon and secured to the operating-side of the planar input unit 4. (See
A tactile feedback generator 6 is provided at the back side of the planar input unit 4. The tactile feedback generator 6 may have a glass-epoxy-resin or a metallic base 9 provided inside the case 2, with dome-shaped (diaphragm-like) inversion plates 10 being formed on the base 9. The inversion plates 10 may be provided separately at locations in correspondence with the input sections 8.
In the state shown in
As shown in
The control section 21 allows two different types of input operations in two different modes, a first (or predetermined) input mode and a second input mode. When the input device 1 is set in the first input mode, the input device 1 can detect that a corresponding input section 8 has been pressed. Then, in correspondence with the prescribed item indicated at the corresponding input section 8, an input signal is applied in order to generate an operation signal based on this input signal. When the input device 1 is set in the second input mode, regardless of what is indicated at the corresponding input section 8, the input signal is provided when the input device 1 detects the operator's finger (for example) contacts the surface of the planar input unit 4. In the second input mode, the input signal is recognized as coordinate data in order to generate an operation signal and may react accordingly to movement of the operator's finger.
When the input device 1 is set in the first mode, the display panel 3 provides a display of, for example, numbers, which can be input. When the input device 1 is set in the second mode, the display panel 3 provides, for example, a display which allows menu selection, or a display which allows the movement of a displayed cursor.
For example, when a homepage (that is, a web page) is displayed on the screen of the display panel 3, a cursor is displayed on the display panel 3, and can be moved freely in various directions in an X-Y plane by an input operation of the planar input unit 4. When the cursor is moved in order to determine the menu selection location, an operation for determining the menu is subsequently carried out. This determination operation may be executed, for example, by tapping the surface of the planar input unit 4 or by operating an operating member (not shown) that is provided separately of the planar input unit 4 inside the case 2. The detection of the tapping operation may be performed by distinguishing between changes in the load when a corresponding inversion plate 10 is pushed and inverted and changes in the load when a corresponding inversion plate 10 is tapped and is not inverted.
In the input device 1, software in the control section 21 determines whether the first input mode or the second input mode is active and processes the data accordingly. This allows automatic switching between the input modes, so that switching between displays on the display panel 3 in accordance with the input modes can be performed.
A description of the processing operation at the control section 21 of the input device 1 will now be given.
As shown in
When the control section 21 determines that the input device 1 is in the second mode in ST1, the process proceeds to ST5 in order for the display panel 3 to provide a screen display in correspondence with the input coordinate data, such as a menu selection screen display or a cursor movement screen display. Then, the process proceeds to ST6. When the planar input unit 4 is operated, an input signal, which may have nothing to do with what is indicated at the corresponding input section 8, is generated from the planar input unit 4. Thereafter, the process proceeds to ST7 where the input signal is recognized as coordinate data. The display panel 3 provides a display in correspondence with this coordinate data.
In the input device 1, the inversion plates 10 are simply dome-shaped metallic plates for allowing the operator to feel the operation that he/or she has carried out. However, these inversion plates 10 may be formed so as to allow switch input operations as a result of being inverted.
As shown in
The electrode 13a is formed on the top surface of the resin sheet 12, with a circular electrode 13a1 being formed in the center thereof, and an annular electrode 13a2 being formed around and at a predetermined distance from the electrode 13a1. An electrically conductive pattern may be formed continuously with a portion of the electrode 13a2. The electrically conductive pattern 13b is formed at the bottom surface of the resin sheet 12, and is connected to the electrode 13a1. A through hole is formed in a portion of the resin sheet 12 below the electrode 13a1. A coupling conductor member 14 that electrically connects the electrically conductive pattern 13b and the electrode 13a1 is formed in the through hole. A dome-shaped (diaphragm-like) inversion plate 15 is formed on the electrode 13a2. The inversion plate 15 is provided so that its peripheral edge is in contact with the electrode 13a2 and so that the location of the top portion of the inversion plate 15 and the location of the electrode 13a1 correspond with each other.
Resist films 16a and 16b are provided around the inversion plate 15 and at the bottom surface of the electrically conductive pattern 13b, respectively. The entire surface is laminated with a resin sheet 17 formed of PET, and a resin or a metallic base 18 is coupled to the bottom surface of the resist film 16b through an adhesive layer 19, whereby the switch element 11 is constructed.
When the operator presses the planar input unit 4 with his/her finger from thereabove, the planar input unit 4 and the indicator sheet 7 are elastically deformed, and the corresponding inversion plate 15 is pushed by the pushing force produced by the operator. This causes the inversion plate 15 to be inverted as shown by the alternate short and long dashed lines in
A description of a second embodiment of an input device in accordance with the present invention will now be given with reference to
An input device 30 shown in
The planar input unit 31 may be a pressure-sensitive type or a capacitance type. In the capacitance-type planar input unit 31, as described above, an X-direction detecting electrode and a Y-direction detecting electrode oppose each other in a matrix arrangement, with a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resin sheet being sandwiched therebetween. The resin sheet having the electrodes formed thereon are provided on a rigid, glass epoxy or metallic substrate. An indicator sheet 7 similar to that used in the first embodiment is secured to the front side of the planar input unit 31, and a tactile feedback generator 33 is provided at the planar input unit 31.
The tactile feedback generator 33 has one protrusion 35 whose end is supported so as to be movable upward and downward. This protrusion 35 is provided in a concave-shaped base 36, formed inside the case 2, and is formed at the center of the back side of the planar input unit 31. The protrusion 35 is formed so that it causes the operator to feel, for example, a pressing reaction force when he/she presses it from thereabove. The above-described dome-shaped inversion plate may be used to construct the tactile feedback generator 33.
A pantograph 34 is provided as an ascending/descending mechanism between the planar input unit 31 and the base 36.
As shown in
In the state of the input device 30 prior to the operation thereof shown in
Therefore, when the operator pushes the planar input unit 31 with, for example, his/her finger from thereabove, the pantogragh is folded, causing the entire indicator sheet 7 and planar input unit 31 to be pushed down horizontally. As a result, the operator feels the operation that he/she has carried out as a result of, for example, the pressing reaction force produced when the protrusion 35 is pushed. Consequently, the operator can reliably know that he/she has pressed the planar input unit 31.
Similarly to the input device 1, the input device 30 includes a control section in order to perform switching between a first, predetermined input mode and a different mode (the second input mode). The switching between the first input mode and the second input mode is performed by the same processing operations described above.
The input device of the present invention is not limited in its application to a portable telephone. For example, it may be formed so that the first input mode is set as a television remote control mode and the second input mode is set as a game device controller mode.
As can be understood from the foregoing description, since the input operation in the input mode for generating an operation signal in correspondence with the input section, and the input operation in the input mode for generating coordinate data can be carried out in the same operational plane, quick input operations can be achieved without impairing operability.
In addition, since the reaction force that is produced when the operator presses an input section is transmitted to the operator, the operator is capable of knowing that he/she has definitely performed a pressing operation, thereby making it is possible to restrict erroneous operations.
Furthermore, although the tactile feedback has been represented as a reactive force to the operator's finger, other sensory input mechanisms may be used for tactile feedback. For example, the tactile response may be uniform across the different input sections or may include different thermal or vibrational levels for the different input sections. In this case, the thermal or vibrations may be tuned to the individual input sections thereby permitting a safer, non-visual confirmation of the particular section depressed (if necessary) in addition to restricting possible erroneous operations.
While the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, the description is illustrative of the invention and not to be construed as limiting the invention. Various modifications and applications may occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
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|1||Copy of Search Report for corresponding European Patent Application No. 01 30 5467.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US20140346936 *||Apr 8, 2014||Nov 27, 2014||Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.||Protection cover|
|U.S. Classification||345/173, 345/174, 345/176, 178/18.05, 178/18.07, 178/18.01, 178/18.03, 178/18.06|
|International Classification||G06F3/033, H04M1/02, H01H13/70, G06F3/02, H01H13/785, H04M1/23, H01H3/12, H01H13/807, G06F3/047, G06F3/041|
|Cooperative Classification||H04M2250/22, H04M1/0202, H01H2215/012, G06F3/04886, H04M1/23, H01H2239/05, G06F3/045, H01H2225/024, H01H2237/00, G06F3/03547, H01H13/785, H01H2215/006, G06F3/0202, H01H2225/002, G06F3/047, H01H13/807, G06F3/04883, H01H2239/078, G06F3/044|
|European Classification||G06F3/0488G, G06F3/0488T, G06F3/0354P, G06F3/044, H01H13/785, G06F3/02A, H01H13/807, G06F3/045, H04M1/02A, G06F3/047, H04M1/23|
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