Title:
Mobile telephone devices
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An electronic device such as a mobile telephone device incorporates a flexible keyboard within its casing, said keyboard incorporating a plurality of switches or sensors distributed over said keyboard area which detect finger pressure, or which alternatively detect the presence of a finger adjacent to said switch means, where said keyboard can be rolled-up around a central roller located within the housing of said electronic device when not in use, and can at least partially extracted from within said electronic device when required, and laid flat for use as a keyboard. The mobile telephone may also incorporates facilities to modulate properties of light and/or sound which are emitted by facilities incorporated within said phone to announce or signal to a user an incoming call, where the particular properties of said light and/or sound emitted are determined by a pre-programmed relationship to properties of ambient sound and/or ambient light detected by sensors incorporated within said phone.



Inventors:
Jessop, Richard V. (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/980755
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
10/31/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
345/169
International Classes:
H04B1/38; G02B26/02; G06F3/02; G09G3/36; G09G5/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HO, HUY C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer, LLP (1500 Broadway, 12th Floor, New York, NY, 10036, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A flexible keyboard which is accommodated within the casing or housing of a portable electronic device such as a mobile phone, or other mobile wireless communication devices, personal organizers, and the like; where said keyboard incorporates a plurality of switches or sensors distributed over said keyboard area which detect finger pressure, or which alternatively detect the presence of a finger adjacent to said switch means; where said keyboard can be rolled-up or scrolled-up around a central roller located within the housing of said electronic device when not in use, and can be unrolled or un-scrolled, and at least partially extracted from within said electronic device when required, and laid flat for use as a keyboard.

2. The flexible keyboard of claim 1, where said keyboard is not incorporated within an electronic device when not in use, but is instead attachable to, and detachable from, such a portable electronic device, and where said keyboard can be scrolled up around a central roller, and un-scrolled when required for use.

3. The flexible keyboard of claim 1, where said keyboard is not incorporated within an electronic device when not in use; where said keyboard can be scrolled up around a central roller, and un-scrolled when required for use; and where said keyboard communicates with said portable electronic device by means of a wireless radio, optical or electromagnetic communications link between said keyboard and said portable electronic device.

4. The flexible keyboard of claim 1, where said keyboard is not incorporated within an electronic device when not in use; where said keyboard can be scrolled up around a central roller, and un-scrolled when required for use; and where capacitive sensing is used as a switch means to detect the presence of a finger on one or more keys of said keyboard.

5. A mobile or cellular phone which incorporates facilities to modulate properties of light and/or sound which are emitted by facilities incorporated within said phone to announce or signal to a user an incoming call; where the particular properties of said light and/or sound emitted by said phone for said purpose is determined by a pre-programmed relationship to properties of ambient sound and/or ambient light detected by sensors incorporated within said phone.

6. The mobile phone of claim 5, where any of the following properties of sound—amplitude, pitch, frequency or sequence of pitches or frequencies or tones—generated by facilities incorporated within said phone are modulated based upon a pre-determined relationship between properties of ambient sound detected by a microphone incorporated within said phone and properties of sound generated by facilities incorporated within said phone.

7. The mobile phone of claim 5, where the brightness or amplitude of light emitted by light-generating facilities incorporated within said phone is modulated in a pre-determined relationship to properties of light detected by light-sensing sensors incorporated within said phone.

8. The mobile phone of claim 5, where in addition, the time at which said incoming call takes place is added to the factors determining the particular properties of light and/or sound which are generated.

9. The mobile phone of claim 5, where in addition, information relating to properties of sound which is generated by sound-generating facilities incorporated within said phone and is monitored by a microphone incorporated within said phone is used as the basis upon which properties light or sound generated by facilities incorporated within said sound are modulated, calibrated or determined.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/130,432, filed May 16, 2005, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/803,445, filed Mar. 9, 2001, which claimed priority to U.S. Patent Application No. 60/188,474, filed Mar. 10, 2000, all of which applications are incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to flexible electronic keyboards or keypads for portable electronic devices.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are various well-known electronic display means enabling someone holding a stylus to ‘draw’ or ‘write’ on said display means, and to see what they have drawn appear on, for example, a colour LCD screen.

To accomplish the above, it is also known that a suitable electrical charge at an electrode adjacent to an oil droplet, where said droplet is located within a suitable electrolyte, and where said droplet is separated from said electrode by a hydrophobic polymer layer, can induce a change in the shape of an oil droplet, thus changing the colour of a pixel on a screen.

It is similarly known that, in a similar system, a polar liquid droplet may replace an oil droplet. The polar liquid droplet may be moved when arranged with an insulating liquid surrounding it, with a ground plane within proximity to the droplet/ insulating liquid reservoir, and with a hydrophobic polymer insulating layer located in between the droplet and more than one separately-addressable adjacent electrodes. This can be accomplished by charging, one by one, a number of electrodes adjacent to said droplet so as to cause the hydrophobic property of the local polymer surface to become hydrophilic, and causing the droplet to be attracted successively to first one and then another charged electrode-proximate location.

Arrangements for achieving these effects are described in existing prior art.

To date, however, there are few if any colour display means which are electronically ‘writeable’ with a stylus, as well as being electronically ‘erasable’, and which are low-cost to manufacture.

Therefore, there is a need for a low-cost electronic display means which can display in colour what is drawn or written on its display area, and can later electronically erase the same displayed items. Further, there is a need for low-cost colour display means which do not employ, or which do not require, a stylus to achieve satisfactory addressing. The purpose of some of the following inventions is to exploit such approaches for a new application, that of directing light onto, or through, differently-coloured light filters so as to provide various different and innovative display means.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a rolled-up keyboard which is integral to, or which optionally is attachable to, small-sized electronic devices, and which may be unrolled from its unused position wrapped around a roller system when it is to be used as a keypad or keyboard. By this means, a keyboard of larger size than the physical dimensions of any one face of such aforesaid small electronic devices can be conveniently stored in a small space when not required, and quickly unrolled for use when a keypad is required.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of an embodiment of the invention in use as a flexible keyboard.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Scrolling retractable keyboard for telephones, computers, electronic organisers and the like. One of the problems with electronic organisers, small computers of very small physical size mobile telephones and suchlike small-sized electronic processing or communicating devices, is that due to their small physical size, it is often not easy to operate the small keyboards that are usually integral to such units.

Whilst a mobile phone's numeric keyboard, for example, may be quite adequate in size for dialing numbers, or even tapping in very short sentences for text messages, it is certainly less convenient and easy to use than, say, a PC's standard-sized keyboard.

My invention (see diagram below) is a rolled-up keyboard which is integral to, or which optionally is attachable to, such small-sized electronic devices, and which may be unrolled from its unused position wrapped around a roller system when it is to be used as a keypad or keyboard. By this means, a keyboard of larger size than the physical dimensions of any one face of such aforesaid small electronic devices can be conveniently stored in a small space when not required, and quickly unrolled for use when a keypad is required.

FIG. 29 illustrates this idea: in a design approach in essence similar to that of a retractable tape measure, a keypad of suitable design so as to render it extremely thin and flexible, is stored on a roller-type device which is optionally spring-loaded so as to retract (or, optionally, extend) automatically when an appropriately-located release means to achieve this is activated by the user.

The keyboard may be made of any suitable flexible material which may be rolled up on a roller within the storage facility integral to, or attached to, the electronic device.

The keyboard may, optionally, be composed of a number of flexible substrates with appropriately-positioned electrically conductive, and insulating, elements integral to the design (in one possible design approach similar, for example, to a conventional membrane keypad), wherein pressure (or the presence of a finger detected by any suitable sensor means) is applied at pre-designated and, preferably, labelled locations on the key pad and thereby causes two or more electrically conductive elements to touch, or any other switch means to be connected, and thereby to make an electrical circuit. The conductive elements will move to separate from each other again when the pressure is released. Such a design approach to a keypad is well-established.

Alternatively, the keyboard could be designed and made on the basis of any suitable and practicable switch means, whereby the pressure of, or presence of, a finger (for example) activates a switch means, which then causes an electrical circuit to be made or broken. As an example of a switch means where an electrical contact is not physically made, a capacitive keypad could optionally be used.

The keyboard may be electrically linked to the aforesaid small electronic device by any suitable means. Alternatively, the keypad may communicate with the small electronic device via any suitable remote communication device—e.g., optical, R/F, electromagnetic, capacitive, inductive, etc.

Optionally, the extendable, ‘roll-out’ keypad may duplicate some, or all, of the functions of a separate keypad which may be integral to the aforesaid electronic device.

The invention has numerous applications in a multitude of applications. While the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention.

In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.