A trend-setting touch-pad technology

ThumbSense_ページ用The touch pad is popularly used as a pointing device for notebook PCs and other mobile equipment. Yet users have complained that it requires them to move their fingers from the home position on the keyboard.

ThumbSense is a new input technology and software to address this problem, first proposed and demonstrated in 2002.

Keyboard keys act as the mouse

ThumbSense is based on a very simple concept: A keyboard key performs both as a key and, simultaneously, as the mouse.

For example, if the forefinger keys, F and J, are assigned to the left or 1st button on the mouse, and the middle finger keys, D and K, to the right button, then the touch pad can be operated with the user’s fingers in their home position.

When the user wants to switch to the typing of text, no command is needed to change modes. Striking the F key will type an "f".

How ThumbSense works

ThumbSense senses the state of a finger touching the touch pad, thereby instantly discerning which mode it is in—the key-strike mode or the touch pad mode. As long as your finger remains on the touch pad, F key acts as a mouse button. Once the finger is off, it works as a normal keyboard key. (A more sensitive state transition actually occurs here, but users don’t notice it.) ThumbSense can enable a regular key to be used as a modifier key, along the lines of Shift, Ctrl and Alt. Also, various shortcut functions can be assigned to keys by using ThumbSense.