Title:
Ergonomic laterally-pitched PC-mouse w/magnetic-cling & retrofit-kit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The notion of a unique ‘magnetic-cling’ PC-Mouse operating ergonomically in association with a special PC/Mouse-pad arranged at laterally-inboard angles of 23 to 95-degrees upward from the horizontal;—thereby facilitating drastic reduction in RMI-trama known by physio-therapists as CTS (carpal-tunnel syndrome)-disease, typically owing to stressfully torqued pronated hand/wrist orientation. The preferred-embodiment comprising a special ferrous-metal mouse-pad gliding-platen, in combination with a substantially conventional PC-mouse which bottom-side is provided with an optionally user-retrofitable PM/ferro-polymer glide-shoe. The MagneMouseRx™ aggregation is thus self-energized with ‘magnetic-cling’ as to thereby maintain any position upon the LIM (laterally-inboard mouse)-pad, which preferred circular sheet-steel traversing-surface preferably includes a contiguously formed support-base portion made finitely-adjustable as to degree of angularity, by simple method of manually re-bending to desired angularity along its longitudinal-crease. This LIM-pad support-base also preferably includes a selectively reversible pivot-tongue like extension, holding a longitudinal cushion-pad in ultimately comfortable support of user's left or right hand hypothenar-eminence;—thereby enabling mirror-image use at either L/R-side of a conventional PC-keyboard or PC-laptop. Other generic-variant embodiments include adaptations enabling alternate remote use of the MagneMouseRx™ relative to ones thigh, forearm, or waist;—as well as adaptions readily folding-away within a PC-laptop.



Inventors:
Vonheck, Robert W. (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/235561
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
09/27/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B91/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
RAMIREZ, RAMON O
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert W. VonHeck (San Diego, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed of proprietary inventive origin is:

1. An ergonomic PC-mouse and Mouse-pad for PC-operation, said apparatus comprising: a conventional PC-mouse adapted with a PM/gliding-shoe means cooperating with a LIM-pad means employing a ferrous-metal gliding-platen as to provide a constant magnetic-cling action; said LIM-pad including a supporting means maintaining said gliding-platen arranged laterally inboard relative to user's hand and wrist longitudinal-axis at a therapeutically verticalized angularity approximately 23-95 degrees from horizontal.

2. The ergonomic PC-mouse apparatus according to claim-1, wherein the PM-force components assigned to said LIM-pad and said PC-mouse are relatively interchangeable, thus juxtapositionable according to manufacturer's engineering-design preference, whereby an alternative equivalent PM/gliding-platen means and a PC-mouse adapted with a ferrous-metal gliding-shoe means, facilitate the same said constant magnetic-cling action; hence tantamount to resorting of an equivalent apparatus.

3. An ergonomically improved PC-mouse and Mouse-pad ensemble addressing RMI-syndrome associated with personal-computer operation; said apparatus comprising: a.) a conventional PC-mouse adapted with a self-energized PM-force means providing a constant magnetic-cling action, enabling resulting PM/PC-mouse to remain at a manually selected X&Y-axes position upon removal of user's hand therefrom, yet said PM/PC-mouse is easily glided to alternate X&Y-axes positions when again urged by hand; b.) a cooperative LIM-pad means having a ferrous-metal gliding-platen member and supporting means of sufficient rigidity as to maintain said gliding-platen arranged laterally inboard relative to users wrist longitudinal-axis at a verticalized angularity approximately 23-95 degrees from horizontal; c.) a resulting physiological therapeutic advantage as user's wrist is thereby rotated into a comfort-zone of operation, thus relieving user's wrist carpal-tunnel region of tramatic torsional-stress impingement of their median-nerve.

4. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said PM-force means is provided by a PM/gliding-shoe means molded from a ferro-polymer composition then electro-magnetized to integrally form the PC-mouse's slide-surface.

5. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said PM-force means is a PM/gliding-shoe means fabricated from commercially available electro-magnetized ferro-polymer material adapted to fit intimately beneath the perimeter-outline of a PC-mouse's slide-surface to which it is affixed.

6. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said PM-force means is provided by an embeded-PM device arranged within the PC-mouse housing.

7. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said PM-force means is provided by a PM/gliding-shoe means, whereto a low-friction substrate is included upon the outwardly-exposed face of said PM/gliding-shoe.

8. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein a low-friction substrate is provided upon face of said gliding-platen means.

9. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said PM-force means is provided by a PM/gliding-shoe means, and includes a reflex-relief means enabling unimpeded projection of PC-mouse's optical-tracker LED/light-beam.

10. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said LIM-pad gliding-platen is made of ferrous-metal having a substantially circular perimeter, and includes a rigid support-base means employing a contiguous-joint longitudinal-bend means capable of yielding for manual-rebending to a different said angularity.

11. The ergonomic LIM-pad member according to claim-10, wherein said support-base means extends horizontally inboard from said longitudinal-bend, whereto a cooperative stabilizer-foot portion is included extending horizontally in the opposite outboard direction; said LIM-pad thus comprising a single sheet of ferrous-metal cut and formed into three radial-elements extending divergently from said longitudinal-bend.

12. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-11, wherein said stabilizer-foot portion includes an outset vertical pivot-axis mooring means, whereto a rest-tongue supporting a resting-cushion is pivotally moored as to be arranged to the right outboard position proximal said gliding-platen face for right-handed users; or alternately for left-handed users, can thus be pivotally swung around 180-degrees for relocation to a left outboard position proximal said gliding-platen.

13. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-12, wherein said resting-cushion includes a longitudinal-trough formation for comfortably supporting the hypothenar-eminence region of user's hand/wrist/forearm

14. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-12, wherein said pivotal mooring means is a circular female-snap adapted as to coaxially index with positive-retention relative to a mating male-snap portion; or alternatively, said male/female-snaps may be arranged juxtaposed into said respective positions.

15. . The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said LIM-pad supporting means includes a longitudinal hinge-axis means, enabling said gliding-platen to be selectively biased between a horizontally stowed-modality and said verticalized angularity operational-modality.

16. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-15, wherein said longitudinal hinge-axis means is integrated with the sidewall of a PC-laptop, thereby enabling said gliding-platen member to be selectively biased into a stow-mode position sandwiched beneath the PC-laptop's closed lid; or alternatively, reopening of the lid enabling said gliding-platen be biased upward into said verticalized operational-modality.

17. The folding gliding-platen according to claim-16, wherein said gliding-platen includes a right-angle dogleg-bend portion proximal said hinge-axis, thereby providing a critical spatial-offset when said gliding-platen is biased upward into a 90-degree open position; thereby obviating potential damage by closing of the PC-laptop's display-screen downward upon upper rim region of said gliding-platen.

18. The folding gliding-platen according to claim-15, wherein said hinge-axis is anchored into a U-shaped mounting-clip means comprised of an upper support-flange portion impinging frictionally upon the PC-laptop's palm-rest surface, while a contiguous opposing lower spring-clip portion includes a 180-degree bend as to thereby impinge tightly against the PC-laptop's underside; thereby facilitating a clasping-action whereby said LIM-pad is adapted as an attachable accessory.

19. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-15, wherein said gliding-platen is made of thin rigid ferrous-metal.

20. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said LIM-pad means includes an encircling strap means enabling remote use supported upon some portion of the user's body, while said PM/PC-mouse is conveniently held by said magnetic-cling action alone; and whereby said PM/PC-mouse can be operated through its two-dimensional X&Y-axes merely by grasping-action of user's manipulating thumb and fingers in coordinated combination with a skewing motion of their hand at the wrist.

21. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said LIM-pad's gliding-platen face forms a concave arched-face arranged on a horizontal-plane relative to an approximate radius from the longitudinal-axis of users wrist-region, thereby enabling user's grasping thumb/fingers to move said PM/PC-mouse in a verticalized X-axes direction by rotating their hand/wrist/forearm; whilst repositioning of the PM/PC-mouse in an Y-axes direction is urged via coordinated fore/aft action of their forearm.

22. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said PC-mouse is of the conventional stationary type employing a topside XY-axes positioning finger-ball, hence said LIM-pad gliding-platen serves essentially to hold this type of PC-mouse fixed at a therapeutically ergonomic said verticalized attitude.

23. The ergonomic PC-mouse ensemble according to claim-3, wherein said PM-force functions assigned to said LIM-pad and said PC-mouse are relatively interchangeable, and as such can be juxtaposed according to manufacturer's engineering-design preference; thereby providing an alternative equivalent PM/LIM-pad means and a PC-mouse adapted with a ferro-magnetic gliding-shoe means, whilst facilitating the same said constant magnetic-cling action; hence tantamount to resorting of an equivalent apparatus.

24. A method of converting a conventional PC-mouse into an ergonomically improved PC-mouse and Mouse-pad ensemble, for addressing RMI-syndrome; said method comprising: a.) an existing commercially available PC-mouse unit; b.) a retrofit-kit is provided including a sheet of conventional PM/ferro-polymer material cut to fit the traced perimeter-outline of the PC-mouse's slide-surface, then a protective-film is peeled-away exposing an adhesive-backing, whereby a resulting PM/gliding-shoe is permanently applied to PC-Mouse's slide-surface; c.) a cooperative LIM-pad is also provided having a ferro-magnetic gliding-platen means, and including a supporting means placing said gliding-platen at a laterally inboard angle of approximately 23-95 degrees relative to the horizontal; d.) a resulting beneficial physiological advantage, whereby users palm and wrist are no longer horizontally pronated, hence weight of users hand and forearm are borne upon their outer-lateral region apart from said gliding-platen, thereby relieving user's wrist/carpal-tunnel region of traumatic torsional-stress impingement of the median-nerve.

Description:

I.) BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of Invention

This invention relates to Personal-computer (PC) Mouse and Mouse-pad apparatus for controlling of XY-axes positioning upon a PC's Display-screen; and more specifically, it relates to those said types of such devices employing improved ergonomic function.

2. Relevant Prior-Art

Background research discovery provides some prior patent-art regarded as germane to this disclosure, chronologically for example U.S. Pat. No. 5,137,384 (filed: January 1992, incidentally prepared in its entirely for the inventors by applicant hereof) contemplates the notion of opposed vertical PC-keyboard half portions for word-processing, but was somewhat complicated by the use of visual-reference mirrors, yet did contemplate the notion of the operator's hand resting upon the hypothenar-eminence portion of their palm. However, the invention did not anticipate implementing of this therapeutically advantageous hand orientation relative to PC-Mouse usage, which is altogether different as shall be explained.

In U.S. Pat. No. 5,678,800 (filed: October 1995) is shown an ergonomically designed PC/Mouse-pad having an inclined planar surface for gliding of a conventional PC-Mouse, plus the gliding-surface is adjoined on both sides by shorter and more steeply inclined hand-rest ramps;—which defines a symmetrical configuration that is substantially square in top/plan-view aspect, whereby the device may be used at either the left or right of a PC-keyboard simply by turning it around 180-degrees (the highest edge of the gliding-surface thus being adjacent the said PC-keyboard). In use, the claimed 10-20 degree inclination finds the users fingers placed upon the resultingly inclined PC-Mouse, while one's palm and wrist surfaces are supported upon the approach-ramp which defines a pronounced edge transition into the contiguously formed gliding-surface. Accordingly, while this device may offer some limited amount of relief from the problems inherent to the horizontally-pronated hand/wrist-orientation, the PC-Mouse is problematically free to slide out of position when users hand is removed therefrom, and it is spatially bulky while failing to provide more advanced improvements in user comfort as are to be set forth herein.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,504,528 (filed: January 2000) is shown a special electro-magnetic/PC-Mouse and associated ferro-magnetic/Mouse-pad combination; wherein the PC-Mouse portion is claimed electrically powered by an integrated electromagnet, and the Mouse-pad is inclined fore-to-aft (not laterally). A special feature of the electro-magnetic activation resides in the provision of an ‘induction touch-sensitive’ variable magnetic-force, whereby removing one's fingers therefrom results in an instant increase of magnetic-attraction power,—thereby maintaining the PC-mouse from sliding aftwardly down the inclined gliding-surface. The inventor claims the relationships of the electro-magnet in combination with the ferro-magnetic Mouse-pad may be interchanged according to engineering design preference; however, the user ergonomics involved remain of the problematical horizontally-pronated orientation sort; which the instant-inventor hereof asserts is potentially injurious to those regularly subject to prolonged PC-Mouse usage.

Therefore, in full consideration of the preceding patent review, there is determined a need for an improved form of device to which these patents have been largely addressed. The instant inventor hereof believes their newly improved PC-Mouse and Mouse-pad aggregation commercially referred to as the MagneMouseRx™, currently being developed for production under auspices of VonHeck-Innovations/Mfg./Mkt. Co., exhibits certain advantages as shall be revealed in the subsequent portion of this instant disclosure.

II.) SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A.) In view of the foregoing discussion about the earlier invention art, it is therefore important to make it pellucid to others interested in the art that the object of this invention is to provide an improved method and associated apparatus by which to overcome the physiopathological problem commonly brought about during prolonged repetative-motion tasks such as is commonly encountered via one's upper extremities,—that being per'se the finger-thumb/hand-wrist/elbow-shoulder cooperatively articulated aggregation. Accordingly, it is widely understood today that a certain RMI (repetative motion injury)-disease can be induced, merely by long periods of operating a simple PC-mouse device relative to a ‘substantially horizontal’ desktop surface *(ie:—whether even a desktop support that which is merely canted forwardly or aftwardly);—requiring what is to most persons, an unnaturally (ie: not relaxed) pronated orientation of one's hand & wrist, causing the users wrist/carpal-tunnel flexor-tendons to therefore critically become torsionally-stressed as to impingingly squeeze the median-nerve, ultimately leading to a malady referred to as CTS (carpal-tunnel syndrome).

The efficacy of my remedy to this pervasive condition, can be readily understood as while sitting or standing for example,—by simply allowing one's arm to fall totally relaxed at one's side (thereby vertically toward the floor);—whereby one will observe your wrist to be canted at an approximate 45-degree angle (relative to a longitudinal plane of reference). Now simply raise your forearm upward at a right-angle to your torso, whereby one will observe the wrist is still canted at an approximate 45-degree angle (now relative to a desktop for example);—this therefore being identified as the inherently neutral, hence ideally unstressed attitude or angularity condition. Accordingly, if one next slowly urges their wrist into the usual pronated position, most individuals normally sense a slight, albeit critical, feeling they are indeed inducing at least a mild amount of stress into their wrist carpal-tunnel region. Note that the subtlety of this sensation is what rather insidiously leads the PC-mouse operator into a seemingly harmless phase of operation in which the ensuing damage becomes accumulative over a period of time (which duration varies with the individual).

Moreover, still using the right-hand by way of example (a left-hand iteration simply being a mirror-image arrangement thereof), human-factors engineering-studies have revealed the horizontally-pronated wrist orientation is indeed residing at the threshold of stress, unfortunately the most extreme counter-clockwise wrist rotation obtainable by the average person;—yet upon then rotating ones right-wrist clockwise 90-degrees to a vertical position, one finds their wrist carpal-tunnel is entirely relieved of stress, owing the average person can still rotate their right-wrist substantially further clockwise toward the usual limit of another 45-degrees (at which approximate 135-degree point the induced-stress within the carpal-tunnel region of the wrist becomes substantially equivalent to that experienced by most persons in the afore discussed problematical horizontally-pronated position).

Therefore, we see there is typically a total of approximately 135-degrees wrist-rotation between the two exemplified wrist rotation extremes; hence, based upon these studies, my Industrial-Design/Human-engineering research thus concluded that the ‘best-compromise’ angle of wrist-rotation upward from the horizontal extrapolates to just half of that, or an optimal ‘zero-stress’ wrist-angle of about 68-degrees (considered a typical average 90%-tile result; which is conclusive enough to solidly base product-development criteria upon). Accordingly, for the various generic-variant applications of the ensuing invention disclosure, i have arrived at a ‘preferred-range’ of wrist-rotation angularity to be between 60-90 nominal degrees upward from the horizontally pronated orientation (regarded herein as a 0-degree point of reference); while i have found that even a ‘maximum-range’ of 23-120 degrees (total of 97-degrees) can be regarded as a therapeutic ‘comfort-zone’ in terms of establishing an easier transitional standard acceptable in terms of enabling the initial user of my Laterally-inboard Mouse-pad (LIM-pad) to become thereby progressively acclimated to my proposed ergonomically therapeutic hand/wrist-orientation in stages. While some users may indeed readily acclimate (ie:—physiologically adjust their hand-eye coordination) to a full 90-degree LIM (laterally-inboard mouse)-pad attitude,—yet it is found that others need time in making their transitional progression up toward the vertical attitude;—especially if being rotated to an extreme of 95-degrees. Indeed, in some cases the 95-degree verticalization has been found particularly suitable for a growing number of PC-laptop users, owing that the canted or vertical attitude of the platen like Mouse-pad can place the upright-edge of the LIM (laterally-inboard mouse)-pad in a position where it will interfere with convenient downwardly hinging closure of the PC-Laptop's display-screen/Lid (note:—many display-screens are automatically shut-off via this conveniently simple procedure, often such as when the operator desires to take a break, or stops to answer a phone-call for example). Therefore, it is found that an approximate attitude of 95-degrees is adequate to move the apex of the LIM-pad outboard sufficiently as to obviate any possibility of accidental impact by the closing lid, which remains well within my determined maximum of 120-degrees outboard/wrist-rotation. The same LIM-pad can be employed in mirror-image fashion by either a left or right handed PC-mouse operator by merely turning the LIM-pad around 180-degrees (Ref. its vertical-axis) proximally adjacent the left or right frontal-corners of a conventional PC-keyboard; whereto the LIM-pad's angularity may be set at any angle between 30-95 degrees according to user preference. However again, caution should be given when such an inboardly canted LIM-pad is employed in conjunction with conventional folding-lid Laptop-PC, whereby a 60-degree inboard LIM-pad angularity could (unless the LIM-pad were arranged well outset apart from the palm-rest/keyboard region) result in the PC-laptop's fragile display-screen being carelessly closed-down impinging upon the uppermost edge of the LIM-pad (which impact could result in costly repair of the display-screen). Therefore, when employed in conjunction with a PC-laptop, it is recommended the LIM-pad be either laterally set apart sufficiently outboard as to avoid possible damage to the PV-laptop lid's display-screen; or, otherwise the LIM-pad angularity should be set at 91-95 degrees in verticalized modality,—thereby negating any potential interference with the closing display-screen;—which in terms of ergonomics, remains well within the acceptable range of unstressed wrist-rotation orientation.

Moreover in this regard, it is a further object of this invention disclosure to set forth a LIM-pad which is to be borne integrally with the PC-laptop, by simply folding the planar gliding-platen down flat intimately upon the PC-laptop's keyboard or proximal platform like palm-rest surface;—such an inwardly folding iteration, being adapted as either a fully integrated OEM (orig.-equip.mfg.) built-in embodiment, or as a PC-accessory retrofitable to old or new conventional PC-laptops.

B.) Therefore, in view of foregoing item-A, an essential object of this invention disclosure is to thus facilitate practical implementation of my above identified novel ergonomic improvements through means of a specially adapted PC-mouse (either of the ‘hard-wired’ type, or of the ‘wireless’ type) and associated novel Mouse-pad combination. Hence, a novel therapeutically ergonomic LIM (laterally-inboard mouse)-pad and PM/PC-mouse ensemble uniquely employing a constant *self-energized “MagnetCling™” action *(ie:—a ‘natural electron-force’ which activation is reliant upon neither drycell-battery nor line-current). It is therefore to be understood, that any conventional PC-mouse device normally working in conjunction with a conventional horizontal Mouse-pad (or often just a desk-top surface), can actually be adapted to my novel LIM-pad methodology;—once adapted with a suitable PM (permanent-magnet) device, and which can be implemented in ways heretofore unrealized. Thus another object of this invention, is to set forth the adaptation of a substantially conventional commercially available PC-mouse device (thereby herein becoming a PM/PC-mouse), to successfully work in cooperation with the special LIM-pad portion of this overall invention disclosure. It is however submitted that such PC-mouse adaptation be preferably directed implemented via the newer commercially available half-size mini-mouse type designs, some of which are only about 2-inches in length; such diminutive size is, owing their more technologically refined engineering, being found to nevertheless still embody most required operational PC-functions, yet desirably facilitate a commensurate down-sizing of the LIM-pad to present a much more elegant installation, which is most appealingly efficient as to space utilization.

Accordingly, my most economical implementation of such adaptation, thus requires a simple PM/Retrofit-kit be provided, whereby a person can simply trace a pattern of their existing PC-Mouse's ‘foot-print’ (ie:—that slide-surface portion of an ordinary optical-mouse unit interfacing upon the mouse-pad) unto the outwardly facing surface of a preferably 1/32″ to 3/32″ approximate thickness gauge of commercially available electro-magnetized to ‘ferro-polymer’ PM/sheet-stock material; then a through-hole or reflex-relief is included (enabling normal unoccluded projection and retro-reflexion of the mouse's existing optical LED/light-beam); then, the adhesive-backing protective-film substrate is peeled from the resulting ‘PM/gliding-shoe’, whereupon the once trimmed to shape part is manually aligned and permanently pressed upon the bottom-side of the otherwise conventional PC-Mouse. Note that in lieu of an actual port like aperture, the PM/gliding-shoe may rather be made in two-pieces (ie: a fore-portion & an aft-portion),—thereby herein regarded as tantamount to providing an equivalent ‘reflex-relief’ gap.

Being that while the scope of this invention disclosure supports various sorts of commercially available PM (permanent-magnet) device implementations, owing its relatively no easy installation,—the most preferred type PM device adaptation is merely the common low-cost albeit relatively low-energy flexible ferro-polymer sheet-stock. This conventional commercially-available material has been extruded (or calendered) from a generally semi-anisotropic-grade ferrite strontium granulate admixture into a rubber-polymer resin, which resulting preferred 1/32″- 3/32″ guage sheeting upon cooling to near room-temperature, is easily enmass post/electro-magnetized via multi-pole method providing generally 4-12 neg(−) to pos.(+) alternate multipuls per inch (a generally preferred magnetic energy-level of about 0.63 to 0.73/MGOe's) is magnetically sufficiently strong as to hold a PM equipped PC-mouse stationary upon a vertical/ferrous-platen without its sliding-down via force of gravity, yet not so powerful as to pose an initial friction-breakaway resistance problem technically referred to as ‘striction’). The next optional procedure being to apply an adhesive-backing laminate upon one side, and an optional low-friction substrate film (which can be a laminate or spray-coating) such as Teflon® upon the obverse side,—prior to finally die-cutting the individual PM/gliding-shoes from the large sheet of prepared material. Note also, that another optional related method of producing a suitable PM/gliding-shoe, is to factory mold it in a suitable female-die via a similar ferro-polymer resin (or equivalent albeit generally relatively brittle ferrite-material) which is similarly post/electro-magnetized;—whereby the resultant finished component-part integrally forms the PC-mouse's underside to slide-surface.

In this regard, the ability of my assembled PM/PC-mouse to remain sustained in place via magnetic-cling (ie:—not slipping nor creeping downward via gravity), is also effected by the surface-finish character of the LIM-pad's gliding-platen. Recognizing an LED/optical-tracker cannot function if interfacing a ferro-metal Mouse-pad gliding-platen having a highly polished or chrome-plated mirror-like finish, it is intended the gliding-platen face thus necessarily present a satin-finish or other surface exhibiting a fine-texture (such as attained via fine sand-blasting or bead-blasting). Moreover, if a similarly textured outer-facing substrate of Teflon® were coated upon the ferrous-polymer PM/glide-shoe or the ferrous-metal gliding-platen, the energy-level of the PM/ferrous-polymer material would need to be substantially increased, as compared to a specimen PM/PC-mouse employing a bare-faced PM/glide-shoe interfacing upon a LIM-pad gliding-platen having no substrate coating. In contrast, a more coarsely-textured surface (a large-grained sandblasted surface, or a surface brushed in the horizontal direction only, or in radial-swirls) for example, can suffice with a weaker PM-force (ie: self-energizing provided by a permanent-magnet medium, such as a ferro-polymer, ferrite, or rare-earth/magnet). Note also, that in experiments with the above extremely different surface-finish examples, it was found that most any of the specimens could be thus engineeringly ‘tuned’ to provide a generally smooth gliding-action, not exhibiting excessive striction, nor user noticeable breakaway-force via hand manipulation;—yet some combinations of LIM-pad surface-quality vrs. PM/glide-shoe magnetic-force were indeed found to be superior; albeit for purposes of this disclosure shall remain within the realm of an engineering-design trade-secret.

Moreover, a further engineering-design choice regarded as a viable equivalent arrangement is realized, and for sake of brevity if conciseness of disclosure, is set forth whereby the respective positioning of the stated ferro-magnetic component (ie: using ferro-metal instead as the gliding-shoe material) member, and the stated PM energizing component (ie: using the ferro-polymer instead as the gliding-platen material) member may be interchangeably juxtaposed;—thereby enabling essentially the same “magnetic-cling” effect, thus tantamount to resorting of a substantially equivalent structural apparatus. Accordingly, for the purposes of the claimed disclosure, the preferred arrangement as is primarily being set forth herein, is regarded by this instant inventor as engineeringly the more practical arrangement of materials, and as such shall be given the primary focus, albeit without prejudice against the possibility of in some cases implementing this invention via justaposing of the clearly identified magnetically attractive cooperative members. Therefore, general reference to the above described interchangeably combined permanent-magnet and ferrous-metal members comprising this invention disclosure is—“the PM-force components”.

C.) Therefore, in view of foregoing items-A&B, yet another essential object of this invention is to provide generic variations of my LIM-pad, which includes a very basic if low-cost so-called L-shaped configuration, preferably constructed in one-piece from approximately 1/16-inch guage sheet-steel (ferro-metal), which can be stacked and high-pressure hydro-cut (using water) as a rather figure-8 shaped flat-pattern, which matrix is longitudinally-scored so as to create a predisposition to yielding in a well defined manner when the matrix is subsequently bent to the desired gliding-platen portion angularity along the preferably longitudinal-scored linear bend-point. However, as a concession to shipping-economy and retail/shelf-space, this post-forming bending procedure can be left for the retail-purchaser to finally bend from a flat-pattern into their preferred angularity (a simple procedure generally using the edge of their desk,—explained via an accompanying instruction-pamphlet).

A more elaborate LIM-pad embodiment essentially expands upon the above basic L-shaped version, whereto is included a 180-degree opposing laterally outboardly directed support-foot member,—which preferably also includes a longitudinal rest-tongue extension portion that can be made in mirror-image versions dedicated to either right-hand or left-hand utilization. However, for sake of economy in retail-store inventory-stocking, it is preferred that this more elaborate iteration be made with a vertical pivot-mooring upon its approximate 3-inch stabilizer-foot, as to facilitate a conveniently pivotable rest-tongue;—thereby enabling the same LIM-pad to serve either left-hand or right-hand users. In either the dedicated version or the reversible version of the rest-tongue feature, the essential purpose is to provide a support for an elongate resting-cushion, preferably employing an approximately ¾-inch deep longitudinal-trough providing ultimate ergonomic support of the user's aftward hand region, as well as their wrist and proximal forearm portion.

III.) DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT DRAWINGS

The foregoing and still other objects of this invention will become fully apparent, along with various advantages and features of novelty residing in the present embodiments, from study of the following description of the variant generic species embodiments and study of the ensuing description of these embodiments. Wherein indicia of reference are shown to match related matter stated in the text, as well as the Claims section annexed hereto; and accordingly, a better understanding of the invention and the variant uses is intended, by reference to the drawings, which are considered as primarily exemplary and not to be therefore construed as restrictive in nature; wherein:

FIG. 1A, is a transverse cross-sectional semi-diagramatic view of an average right/human-wrist (as looking longitudinally toward the unshown hand) in a conventional problematically ‘pronated’ orientation relative to an exemplified horizontal desktop surface, including indication as to the relationship of normal extreme-range of physical-rotation limitations, thereby dramatically demonstrating that the wrist is actually uncomfortably oriented at its approximate extreme CCW-position as when operating a keyboard for example, while the opposite 135-degree extreme CW-rotation is also indicated by way of arrow-reference;

FIG. 1B, is a cross-sectional view relating to FIG. 1A, wherein the human-wrist is by way of direct comparison shown at a therapeutically optimal stress-relieved 68-degree CW-rotation orientation (relative to the horizontal) as is being set forth in this instant invention disclosure, and including showing of the minimum allowable 23-degree/CW-rotation as to studied ergonomic limitations of wrist rotation;

FIG. 1C, is a cross-sectional view progression relating to examples 1A &1B, wherein the human-wrist is shown rotated-CW further to an also comfortable 90-degree angle relative to the horizontal, whereto arrow-reference is also given indicating the maximum recommended CW-rotation of 95-degrees;

FIG. 1D, is a generic-variant embodiment according to FIGS. 1B & 1C, wherein the operator's arm/wrist aggregation is enabled to follow an exemplified longitudinal-axis 90-degree/arc-of-rotation relative to an adjacent radius-arched LIM-pad and PMβPC-Mouse;

FIG. 2, is a frontal/elevation-view of a conventional PC-keyboard (or PC-laptop), showing the relationship thereto of the most elementary embodiment of the invention being set forth in this invention disclosure, preferably including a user bendable angularity;

FIG. 3, is a pictorial view showing a right-oblique fragmented frontal aspect of an exemplified conventional PC-laptop unit, whereto is represented an exemplified preferred embodiment of this instant invention disclosure, including phantom-outlining of the selectively reversible rest-tongue provision enabling convenient right-hand (shown) or left-hand operation of my LIM-pad device;

FIG. 4, is a bird's-eye semi-diagramatic plan-view of a conventional PC-keyboard although relating to previous FIG. 3, here demonstrating how my LIM-pad and cooperative magnetized PC-mouse can be optionally arranged by the user either left or right in mirror-image fashion, preferably in combination with the pivotable rest-tongue;

FIG. 5A, showing scissors cutting a traced-pattern from ferro-plastic sheet-stock;

FIG. 5B, in enlarged-scale shows the underside of an optical PC-mouse, exemplifying how a PM-magnet may either be built-in or affixed to the underside surface;

FIG. 6, is a front/elevation-view of the left-side portion of a special PC-laptop unit, having an indegrated retractably-folding LIM-pad, here the gliding-platen being shown in two positions, the retracted position being indicated via phantom-outline, and the operationally deployed position being shown via solid-line;

FIG. 7, is a front/elevation-view of the right-side portion of a conventional PC-laptop, whereto is shown a clip-on LIM-pad, here the gliding-platen being shown in three positions, the retracted position being indicated via solid-line, and two operational positions being shown via phantom-outline;

FIG. 8, is a semi-diagramatic pictorial-view demonstrating a generic-variant embodiment, exemplifying how my LIM-pad invention may be adapted to non-desktop usage via an avulsable strap encircling a portion of the user's body such as their leg-thigh (here), arm, or waste region,—including relative indication of user's upper-arm and fore-arm.

IV.) ITEMIZED NOMENCLATURE REFERENCES

9—desktop (general horizontal plane of reference)

10a/10b,10c,10d,10e,10f—PC-keyboard/PC-laptop, lid, palm-rest, foot-pad, front

11a,11b—stressed human-wrist: horiz.-pronated Max./inward-rotation, Max./outward-rotation

12a,12b,12c,12d—relieved wrist: Max./in.-rotation, optimized, vertical, Max./out.-rotation

13a,13b,13c/13d—carpal-tunnel, flexor-tendons, median-nerve: normal/squeezed

14a,14b,14c—ulnar-nerve, transverse/carpal-ligament, epidermis

15a,15b,15c,15d,15e—human-hand, palm, hypothenar-eminence portion, thumb, fingers

16a,16b,16c,16d,16e—wrist-bones, wrist-joint, forearm, elbow-joint, shoulder-joint

17a/17b—longitudinal-axis: wrist & hand rotation/wrist & hand fore-aft travel

18a,18b,18c,18d,18e—PC-mouse, slide-surface, Lt.click, Rt.click, scroll-wheel, UCB-cord

19a,19b,19c—PM/gliding-shoe, protective-film, adhesive-backing

20a,20b,20c—reflex-relief, low-friction substrate, embeded-PM

21a,21b,21c,21d—gliding-platen: planar-face, arched-face, perimeter, backside

22a,22b,22c,22d—gliding-platen: support-base, longitudinal-bend, stabilizer-foot, relief-hole

23,23′/23″—LIM-pad, bending adj.-action ref.arrows: decrease-angle/increase-angle

24a,24b,24c,24d—cushion-cover, resting-cushion, longitudinal-trough, vertical pivot-axis

25L/25R;25′/25″—rest-tongue orientation: left/right; male-snap/female-snap

26a,26b,26c—ferrous-plastic sheet-stock, scissors, traced-outline

27,27′,27″—folding gliding-platen positions: stowed, semi-upright, upright

28a,28b,28c—folding gliding-platen: support-flange, pivot-journal, hinge-axis

29a,29b,29c—folding gliding-platen: retention-clip, support-journal, 180-degree bend

30a,30b,30c—mounting-recess, dogleg-bend, spatial-offset

31a,31b,31c—remote LIM-pad: hook-&-loop strap (ie: Velcro®), release-tab

32a,32b,32c—human-leg, human-thigh, human-knee

33—conventional RF/PC-Mouse (no UCB-cord) adapted as an RF-PM/PC-mouse

34a,34b—conventional Optical-tracker: LED & Refractory-element, light-beam

Display-screen cursor correlating axes: X′=up, X″=down, Y′=right, Y″=left

V.) DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Initial explanatory reference is given by way of sequential FIGS. 1A/1B/1C, wherein is exhibited an artists's rudimentary conceptional cross-sectional view of a human-wrist, FIG. 1A exemplifying the usual problematical ‘pronated’ orientation of 0-degrees at 11a (typical max.-physical inboard-rotation) of the wrist relative to a generally horizontal desktop surface 9; while an attendant sweeping-arch/tapering-ref.arrow thereto indicates the corresponding forced typical max.-physical outboard-rotation 11b (CW for the right-hand) of 135-degrees. These illustrations further clearly reveal how the normally vital median-nerve 13c in FIGS. 1B/1C (which serves the thumb and 2½ adjoining fingers), and to some extent the ulnar-nerve 14a(which serves the remaining distal 2½ fingers), and owing spatial restrictiveness can actually become tramatically squeezed within the carpal-tunnel region 13a, hence essentially pressed between adjoining flexor-tendons 13b and the transverse/carpal-ligament 14b do to the inboardly extreme CCW/rotational-torquing of the wrist 11a. In this regard, by way of direct comparison, contrast the entirely relieved (normally unsqueezed) condition 13c of the same median-nerve in the subsequent FIG. 1B sequence. Accordingly, that region of the wrist which is surrounded by the six aggregate regional wrist-bones 16a is known as the carpal-tunnel 13a; while the illustrated critical condition of FIG. 1A identifies the exacerbating condition determined to be the cause of dreaded CTS (carpal-tunnel syndrome) commonly leading to RMI (repetitive-motion injury). Although certain persons are more susceptible (such as diabetics), RMI resultantly comes about because of an aggrevatingly prolonged pinched or squeezed condition, the dire effect of wrist-pronation accumulating usually over several days of continued traumatic abuse of the median-nerve 13d, albeit initially unbeknownst to the conventional PC-mouse user.

Accompanying FIGS. 1B & 1C serve to illustrate via an exemplified progressive rotation of the right-hand/wrist (ie—hence the following explanation also sufficing for the left-hand/wrist when interpreted in mirror-image) the acceptable orientations of the human-wrist when operating a PC-mouse (or even a typing-keyboard for that matter), whereto the instant inventor hereof has via Human-engineering research-study determined the minimum amount of recommended CW/wrist-rotation from the horizontal as is indicated at position 12a, which pre-medially constitutes approximately 23-degrees minimally from horizontal;—although i have determined the optimal orientation to actually be medially positioned neutrally at 12b in FIG. 1B, which is approximately 68-degrees CW/wrist-rotation from the horizontal base-line of reference 9.

In FIG. 1C we see a fully verticalized hand/wrist orientation of 90-93 degrees, shown comfortably supported upon optional preferred hypotenar-eminence (ie:—herein identified as the longitudinal-extension aftward from the outer-portion of one's little-finger into the hand/wrist/forearm region) support-cushion longitudinal-trough 24b. The final diagram FIG. 1D of the sequences, shows a generic-variant embodiment featuring a verticalized arched-face gliding-platen 21b, which is preferably radiused proximal to the longitudinal-axis 17a of wrist/hand/forearm-rotation, an arrangement thereby enabling the user to operate the PC-Mouse merely by rotating their forearm 16c along longitudinal-axis 17a, while simultaneously moving their forearm along the longitudinal-axis fore/aft travel path 17b. Although useful to most anyone operating a PC-mouse, this specialized embodiment is regarded by this inventor as being particularly suitable for persons afflicted with some manner of disability, which would limit the usual articulating movements of ones fingers in manipulatingly maneuvering the PC-Mouse 18a through its usual XY-axes. In FIG. 1D, for sake of convenient direct angularity comparison, is shown a three-stage overlay superimposed-composite of wrist-rotation (wherein ‘X’=97-deg. total nominal rotation), ranging from minimal allowable CCW orientation 12a (23-deg. CW from horizontal 9), through vertical-carpal post-medial position 12c (90-deg. CW from horiz.), to extreme rotational-position 12d (120-deg. CW from horiz.);—while the exemplified PC-Mouse 18a movement—X′ corresponds to wrist/arm-rotation toward 12d, and movement—X″ thus corresponds to hand/wrist/forearm—rotation toward 12a. Hence, enabling user's oppositively grasping thumb/fingers to move the PM/PC-mouse in a verticalized X-axes direction by rotating their wrist/forearm; while repositioning of the PM/PC-mouse in an Y-axes direction is urged primarily via coordinated fore/aft action of the forearm.

Although FIG. 2 exhibits an alternate left-hand rudimentary installation, nevertheless the exemplified 90-degree verticalized PC-Mouse LIM-pad 23 having gliding-platen 21a, actually correlates to the earlier described albeit right-hand example of FIG. 1C sequence, which arrangements are as stated,—merely mirror-image equivalents. This FIG. 2 installation thus exemplifies my rudimentary L-shaped LIM-pad configuration 23, which is simply comprised of a stationary support-base 22a portion, preferably formed contegiously with the gliding-platen portion 21a;—whereto is shown how a weight bearing foot-pad 10e portion of a conventional PC-keyboard or Laptop structure 10a/10b, can serve to both stabilize and hold the gliding-platen 21a from skewing out of necessarily stationary position as the user moves the PC-mouse 18a about during its normal XY-axis gliding operation (the unshown display-screen cursor thereby responding accordingly). However, in lieu of the support-base 22a being so weighted upon, if the LIM-pad 23 is used apart from the PC-keyboard, then rather than a felt/under-facing the underside of the foot-like support-base 22a should preferably employ a more slide-resistant material (not actually shown) such as a rough-textured gum-rubber or course-textured cork,—which provide a greater coefficient of friction interfacing the desktop surface 9. Additionally, if intended to be used apart from the PC-keyboard or PC-laptop in a stand-alone manner, the LIM-pad's support-base can also be weighted for additional anti-tip quality;—especially when employed in the fully verticalized manner eluded to in FIGS. 1C/2.

Another preferred feature of the LIM-pad 23 is its advantageously simple longitudinal-bend 22b provision, which is also preferably linearly-scored as to thereby aid precise linear-bending along a straight-line, lending a predisposition to bending;—somewhat the effect of one's creasing a page of a letter for folding prior to mailing. The resulting one-piece component is preferably fabricated from a single sheet of die-cut (or equivalent water-cut/laser-cut) 1/16-inch guage sheet-steel (optionally galvanized or chrome-plated or equivalent), its narrowed although preferably integrated contegious-joint longitudinal-bend portion 22b thereby conveying a rather figure-8 like flat-pattern shape, as revealed by the gliding-platen's verticalized preferably circular perimeter 21c portion in FIG. 3. Therefore, if the LIM-pad were furnished to the retail-purchaser in unbent form, albeit provided with a factory pre-scored demarcation along region 22b, then this redimentary LIM-pad can be economically shipped as a flat-package, whereby the essentially rigid albeit yieldingly narrowed base longitudinal-bend 22b thus enables the user to simply place the factory-scored longitudinal-bend demarcation along the edge of their desktop or opened-drawer edge, and thereby manually force the thus ductilely yielding rigid upper gliding-platen portion 21a to user's desired therapeutic upward angularity, such as is eluded to in FIG. 2 via attendant bending-action ref.-arrow pointing to reference-line 23′ (this example thus suggesting manually-rebending to a different angularity) as to optionally comply with the considered optimal 68-degree medial wrist-rotation angle 12b previously identified in FIG. 1B). Accordingly, it is understood that the resulting simple one-piece essentially rigid structure, serves to obviate complexity, yet owing the nature of mild-steel, can be subsequently rebent numerous times without onset of metal-fatigue fracture and resultant breakage along the pre-scored longitudinal-bend 22b,—if user's gliding-platen angularity preference should change over time.

Reference to FIG. 3 exhibits the right-frontal 10f portion of a conventional PC-laptop 10b, whereto is revealed a more elaborate LIM-pad embodiment for desktop usage, employing the much preferred circular perimeter 21c of gliding-platen 21a (yet optionally can be fashioned in some other perimeter-shape, such as rounded-corner squared perimeter for example), although shown here in preferred combination as a dual/opposed-leg arrangement (as versus the single-leg example of FIG. 2), whereby a laterally opposing 180-degree outboardly directed horizontal stabilizer-foot 22c acts cooperatively to provide additional anti-tipping stability (particularly advantageous when the LIM-pad is set apart from the weight-bearing foot-pad 10e of a PC-keyboard or PC-laptop). The FIG. 3 embodiment also reveals via phantom-outline that the smaller opposing support-base 22a portion is preferably water-cut (or laser-cut outline) from the lager stabilizer-foot 22c, thereby leaving a relief-hole 22d when the smaller support-base portion 22a is subsequently bent 180-degrees inboardly therefrom;—hence, the LIM-pad thus comprising three divervent radial-elements extending from the common longitudinal-bend region 22b. Therefore, this exemplified LIM-pad structure 23 being preferably economically derived from a single piece of ferrous-metal, thereby advantageously obviating need for usual assembly of separate plastic parts in support of a substantially verticalized ferrous-metal gliding-platen portion.

Additionally, the stabilizer-foot member 22C can employ a dedicated longitudinally-elongate rest-tongue 25R, which serves to support a rest-cushion 24b which preferably includes a longitudinal-trough 24c; however it is still even further preferred that the rest-tongue 25R (or same member 25L as the case may be) include a pivot-axis 24d (ref. FIG. 4) thereby enabling the same LIM-pad wrist/arm-rest cushion 24b to serve at either the right or left sides of any PC-keyboard or PC-laptop as is demonstrated via the large action ref.arrow showing how the rest-tongue 25R can be readily swung around 180-degrees to its alternate position 25L. Note also in FIG. 3, that besides the lowermost aftward hypothernar-eminence portion of the users hand-palm, the phantom-outlined exemplified user's wrist 16b and forearm 16c are also preferably at rest comfortably upon the U-shaped resting-trough 24b afforded by the overall cushion 24a. Accordingly, it has been found it is best to leave the fingers (including one's lowermost little-finger) projecting longitudinally free to articulatively manipulate the PC-mouse 18a without interfering contact with the softly rounded-terminus of the cushion 24a. The cushioning-material 24b underlying the outer-covering 24a is preferably a low-density polyurethane-foam (preferably open-celled for breathing), while the outer-covering 24a is preferably a commercially-available adhesively-bonded polyester stretch-fabric having a posh ¼-inch soft-mohair like texture, which combination is found to be exceptionally soothing to a user's skin,—even after hours of use during the course of a hot-humid day. Also note in FIGS. 3&4 that although an ordinary rivet-fastener would suffice, the LIM-pad's optional pivot-axis 24d mooring is preferably comprised of a conventional male-snap 25′ which is installed coaxially indexed on pivot-axis 24d of the pivotable rest-tongue 25L/R, and thus manually presses into a conventional mating circular female-snap 25″ member centered on the pivot-axis 24d of the fixed stabilizer-foot 22c;—this positive-retention thereby also enabling the support-tongue 25(R/L) to be readily detached for easy replacement when desired without aid of any tool (while the respective positions of the identified male and female snap devices may be optionally juxtaposed without effecting their basic function).

Next, reference to FIG. 5A shows an exemplified rudimentary procedure for preparing a suitable PM/gliding-shoe (19a in FIG. 5B) member from the traced-pattern 26c inscribed upon the raw-stock of preferably ferrous-plastic material 26a, shown symbolically being cut-out via scissors 26b;—which resulting PM/gliding-shoe matrix is subsequently shown in FIG. 5B relative to the generally planar underside (bottom-side) existing slide-surface 18b of a conventional non-magnetic PC-mouse 18a (preferably not of the old bottom/tracking-ball type) rather of the optical-tracking retro-reflex type, employing a flush-mounted inset conventional generally red-LED & refractory-element 34a. The preferably thin PM/gliding-shoe 19a shown is preferably economically production-diecut for factory PC-mouse installations, rather than being individually retrofitted to a users existing PC-mouse. Howsoever, the ferrous-polymer material is adapted to fit intimately beneath the perimeter-outline of a PC-mouse's slide-surface to which it is affixed, and is preferably fashioned from a larger sheet of flexile PM/ferro-polymer sheet-stock material 26a (generally approximately 1/32-inch to 3/32-inch guage thickness) as exemplified in FIG. 5A. Additionally, an optical-projection reflex-relief 20a must be provided (either as a port shown, or as an equivalent gap provision) as to allow the optical-tracker to function in its normal retro-reflective manner indicated at 34b; then a preferred protective-film substrate 19b is also peeled-away, thereby exposing the self-stick adhesive-backing 19c,—at which point the PM/gliding-shoe 19a is permanently affixed upon the PC-mouse's existing slide-surface 18b (according to the attendant action ref.arrows pointing toward the PC-mouse in FIG. 5);—thereby completing conversion of a conventional PC-mouse into a PM/PC-mouse, which will thus effectively cling to the verticalized gliding-platen of my various sorts of LIM-pads 23. However If preferred, the PM/gliding-shoe may alternately be made from a similarly thin-gauge of rigid ferrous-metal, which is then likewise factory affixed (or secured via screws or clip-on means if preferred) upon the PC-mouse's slide-surface 18b; and thus ostensibly functioning in the very same manner as the PM/ferro-plastic material when that material is instead employed as the gliding-platen 21a (and actually appearing substantially the same in the disclosure drawings).

Another alternate embodiment is indicated in FIG. 5B as an embeded-PM (permanent-magnet) 20c preferably of the more powerful rare-earth type owing the magnet's being internal housed instead of external; and which device is indicated via phantom-outline 20c to be arranged therein as a factory installed within the PC-mouse thereby providing a special PM/PC-mouse apparatus;—the two types of magnetic (ie: PM/gliding-shoe 19a and the embeded-PM 20c) configurations are mutually exclusive,—that is, they are preferably not utilized in stacked combination, as by doing so there would be greater cost,—yet no possible advantage to be realized by such added complexity.

In some cases a PC-operator may prefer to adapt use of their existing PC-mouse of the conventional stationary-type having a topside finger-manipulated tracking-ball;—which is readily achieved for use at verticalized angles of 23-45/degrees (beyond which angularity the tracking-ball may tend to fall out of its pocket-seat). Again, this can be facilitated by the user merely fashioning a traced-outline 26c of their mouse base-perimeter upon the afore described PM/ferro-polymer sheet-stock material 26a, and applying the resulting scissor-cut 26b PM/gliding-shoe 19a to the stationary PC-mouse's underside, albeit without need of an afore mentioned optical relief-port 20a therein. Furthermore, it may be noted that while the moving type of PM/PC-mouse can possibly benefit from optional application of a surface coated or laminated low-friction substrate 20b of FIG. 5B,—such a provision would serve no advantageous purpose in the case of a conventional stationary type PC-mouse adapted to use upon the LIM-pad as a PM/PC-mouse. Moreover, it is alternatively considered that some versions of the LIM-pad's gliding-face 21a may be similarly surface coated or laminated with a low-friction substrate 20b according to FIG. 3.

In addition to the foregoing disclosed features of novelty, there remain other subtle, however vital improvements which are to become herein more evident and understood as offering important differences once studied;—for example, the generic-variant presentation of FIGS. 6&7 reveals how a PC-laptop can also be rather surprisingly compactly adapted with a retractable fold-away LIM-pad, which presence is substantially concealed when the PC-laptop's existing hinged-lid 10c is hinged to its closed position as represented at 27 in FIG. 7 (and indicated via phantom-outline in FIG. 6). In FIG. 6 the exemplified folding gliding-platen iteration is exemplified as entirely built-in as an ultimately low-profile embodiment, whereto the opposing ends of its rigid hinge-axis 28c are preferably fixedly anchored via a mounting-recess 30a formed into the sidewall of the PC-laptop's housing. Additionally, the gliding-platen 27 preferably includes a base to platen convergence region configured with a right-angle dogleg-bend 30b region,—thereby facilitating a critically desirable spatial-offset 30c when the gliding-platen 21d is unfolded 90-degrees to its vertical position 27″;—which dogleg-bend is thereby revealed to advantageously displace the uppermost perimeter edge 21c of the verticalized gliding-platen 27″ safely outboard from the radially hinging trajectory of the PC-laptop's descending lid 10c during closing, thereby advantageously obviating the possibility of inadvertently incurring potential impact damage to the costly display-screen (unshown) conventionally housed within the confines of the conventional lid's rigid-framework 10c.

Alternately, a generic-variant folding gliding-platen embodiment set forth in FIG. 7 facilitates a nevertheless similarly compact configuration, which owing its compliantly resilient universal-mount configuration is advantageously retrofitable as an accessory to a conventional PC-laptop. This iteration is therefore readily adaptable to most existing PC-laptop, which typically have a planar hand-rest 10d surface (ref. FIG. 3 as well) upon which is preferably braced an upper support-flange 28a portion of the flexile retention-clip 29a member preferably employing two right-angle bends comprising a complete 180-degree (actually to 185-degrees as to attain a firm clasping action) U-shaped bend 29c; thereby facilitating its impinging tightly upward fast against the substantially planar underside of the exemplified conventional PC-laptop. While the afore described integral retention-clip member 29a is preferably made of stainless-steel, it can alternatively be economically molded of a transparent preferably smoky-colored high-strength polycarbonate-plastic (or of a stiffer chopped-glass/filler-reinforced opaque-black polycarbonate-plastic if preferred);—while the integral said support-flange portion 28a includes suitably supportive pivot-journals 28b receiving a preferably tightly fitted pivot-axis member 28c. This straight forward arrangement thereby preferably acting to frictionably maintain the foldable ferrous-metal gliding-platen member 27 fast at any manually biased position to which it is placed. In either (metal or plastic) universal accessory embodiment, the retrofitting-mount is preferably held in place simply via friction of the cooperatively opposing retention-clip 29a and support-flange 28a members, whereby a clasping-action is simultaneously exerted upon the PC-laptop's underside and opposite palm-rest surface 10d;—thereby facilitating adaptation as a readily attachable accessory. Naturally, more permanent adhesive or mechanical-fastener attachment means can be alternatively resorted to if preferred; but as such is regarded substantially as an engineering-design choice. Accordingly, either of the two retractably folding gliding-platen iterations (the integrated version of FIG. 6, or the accessorized version of FIG. 7) may be selectively biased into horizontally stowed-modality position 27, or alternatively biased upward into semi-upright operational-modality position 27′ (here at a 45-degree angle), or biased fully upright into operational-modality position 27″. This hingeably folding action can be easily executed innumerable times (even while the PC-laptop is poised upon one's lap while seated in an airliner for example);—instead of being limited to only an occassional yielding repositioning as is provided by the essentially fixed-position iteration described in FIGS. 1C/2/3;—although it is to be understood that my earlier exemplified rigid desktop LIM-pad embodiments can be similarly constructed to compactly fold-flat horizontally per FIGS. 6&7 as well if preferred (as an engineering-design choice). Moreover, in lieu of the axled-hinge construction exemplified as a preferred embodiment, it is known that a so-called living-hinge means may be employed (usually of a polyproplyene-polymer, which can be flexed 90-degrees along a longitudinal-bend point thousands of times without failure); which implementation remains within the purview of this disclosure, although lacking the preferred simplistic advantage of utilizing inherent axial-friction to maintain a selected repositioning of the gliding-platen, without introducing complexity of additional position incrimental-indexing mechanism, or a finite axial spring-loaded slip-clutch like mechanism.

Lastly, in FIG. 8 is exemplified my third generic-variant embodiment, designed to be utilized apart from the immediate conventional PC-keyboard or PC-laptop; and as such is essentially only comprised of a preferably planar circular remote gliding-platen 31a having an elastic-loop or more preferably a Velcro® (avulsable hooks-&-loops) type encircling strap 31b preferably affixed to its aftward surface 21d, so as to thereby simply encircle the user's thigh 32b as shown (or similarly their forearm or waist region). While this alternate LIM-pad configuration is substantially equivalent in operating principle to that set forth in preceding FIGS. 1D/2/3/4, and may be of a planar gliding-platen type configuration such as 21a (in FIG. 2), albeit more preferably configured as a rather body-conforming curvex design 21B such as exemplified in FIG. 1D, whereby the preferably wireless RF-PM/PC-mouse 33 of FIG. 8 would in this case be interfacing upon the outwardly directed convex arched-face, as is indicated via phantom-outline in FIG. 1D. Noting also, it is preferred that the PM/gliding-shoes designated 19a in FIG. 1D be suitably formed slightly concave as to intimately interface upon a convex gliding-platen, and conversely formed slightly convex so as to more intimately interface upon a concave gliding-platen (both as exemplified in FIG. 1D).

Accordingly, in this particular FIG. 8 adaptation, where the gliding-platen 31a is generally to be utilized further apart from the PC-computer unit, it is rather preferred that a conventional commercially available RF (radio-frequency)/PC-mouse be adapted with the PM/gliding-foot constructed according to the example of FIG. 5). This preferred wireless arrangement of components, thus obviating the presence of a potentially entangling roving-restrictive UCB-cord, thereby enabling the user to stand and freely roam about,—as during the course of a lecture for example, while the RF-signal is nevertheless still reliably transmitting any user repositioning of the RF-PM/PC-mouse 33. When used while sitting, the user's forearm 16c, can remain relaxed down aside their thigh 32b while via fore/aft movement compelling coordination of the 33 RF-PM/PC-mouse's Y′& Y″-axes, while slight raising/lowering of their forward forearm (ie: near the wrist region) simultaneously compels coordination of the said RF-PM/PC-mouse's correlating X′& X″-axes as the four ref.-arrows extending from the RF-PM/PC-mouse 33 indicate in FIG. 8. This embodiment thus enabling its user to conveniently sit, or get up and roam to a lecture-lectern (not shown) very remote from their slave PC-unit (can be of the conventional tower-housing type, need not be a portable PC-laptop unit), and only occasionally reach-down to their side, as to thereby manipulate the various conventional actuating provisions of the RF-PM/PC-mouse 33;—the advantageous “magnetic-cling” of the RF-PM/PC-mouse 33 and associated LIM-pad 31a aggregation always maintaining the selected XY-axes coordinates, thereby liberating users from the relative restrictiveness of previous PC-mouse accommodations; whereby their hands are freed to make notes, or turn pages at lectern for example.

Thus, it is readily understood how the preferred and generic-variant embodiments of this invention contemplate performing functions in a novel way not heretofore available nor realized. It is implicit that the utility of the foregoing adaptations of this invention are not necessarily dependent upon any prevailing invention patent;—and, while the present is invention has been well described hereinbefore by way of certain illustrated embodiments, it is to be expected that various changes, alterations, rearrangements, and obvious modifications may be resorted to by those skilled in the art to which it relates, without substantially departing from the implied spirit and scope of the instant invention. Therefore, the invention has been disclosed herein by way of example, and not as imposed limitation, while the appended Claims set out the scope of the invention sought, and as such, are to be construed as broadly as the terminology therein employed permits, reckoning that the invention verily comprehends every use of which it is susceptible. Accordingly, the embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or proprietary privilege is claimed, are defined as follows:





 
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