RE: [OT?] LCD/LED Keyboard

From: Carl W. Brown (
Date: Fri Jul 25 2003 - 17:16:56 EDT

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    > It's all well and good to change the keyboard layout, but it can be
    > confusing if it becomes too different from the physical keyboard
    > (esp. if one has to type something in a totally different alphabet).
    > Now, if anybody would manifacture keyboards with tiny LCD displays on
    > each key, that problem would disappear, but I have never seen such a
    > thing. :-(

    I invented a solution for the problem that would allow you to fit a plastic
    template between the keys without affection the size or shape of the normal
    key tops. You could toggle between the normal and alternate keyboard
    layout. You could replace the template and change the alternate keyboard
    layout in less than a minute.

    The problem was access to the keyboard drivers which are more embedded in
    OSes than normal device drivers. A joined the ACCESS.bus working group to
    develop hot plug & play standard that the entire industry would use. This
    eventually led to the USB standard. Unfortunately Intel did not understand
    the i18n portion of the A.b standard and implemented a worthless
    accommodation in USB.

    With the dramatic reduction on keyboard prices and the fact that you can hot
    plug in two different keyboards on the same system I could not make money
    with my patent. If you can not get a keyboard with the right layout you can
    buy stickers for your alternate keyboard key tops.


    There were LCD keyboards at about $4000 each that would only accommodate 7x9
    LCDs which limited the vocabulary to languages with simple glyphs. There
    was also a keyboard that projected the key images onto the key tops. The
    keyboard had to be held ridged and was also expensive. IBM also had an
    overlay keyboard but the keys were sort of like pegs.

    Even though my keyboard would not be that expensive my market research told
    me that the demand would be too small.

    Use two USB keyboards.


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