Multi-touch system and method for emulating modifier keys via fingertip chords
A multi-touch system is disclosed that recognizes simultaneous touchdown of four fingers on, above, or below the home row of keys as a modifier chord and applies modifiers such as Shift, Ctrl, or Alt to subsequent touch activity until none of the chord fingertips remain touching. Touches by the thumb of the modifier chord hand that occur before any modifiable typing or clicking activity cause the modifier chord to be canceled and reinterpreted as hand resting. The Shift modifier may be released temporarily during thumb keypresses that are intermixed with typing of capitalized characters. Distributing the modifier chord touches across different zones or key rows selects multiple modifiers. In an alternative embodiment, different modifiers can be selected with different arrangements of the fingers relative to one another within the chord, irrespective of absolute hand alignment with the touch surface.
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BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention pertains to multi-touch input systems and methods, and more particularly to a mixture of chord keying, gesture recognition and touch typing techniques.
2. The Related Art
The primary use of chords, or simultaneous finger presses, within the data entry art has been in chord keying schemes that map each letter of the alphabet or even shorthand word parts to a different finger combination. This allows chord keyboards to have a reduced number of keys, often limited to a home row of keys. This in turn reduces finger travel and potentially speeds typing. Some schemes, like U.S. Pat. No. 5,281,966 to Walsh, adopt a mapping that is sensibly organized so as to be easy to learn and remember, while others, such as U.S. Pat. No. 5,642,108 to Gopher et al., emphasize long-term keying performance by assigning the most frequently entered letters of the alphabet to those finger combinations that are quickest and easiest to perform. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,808,567, McClound discloses a scheme for communicating with three-finger chords. In this system, a touch of the index finger on one of the nine regions of a small selector pad can be modified by thumb and/or middle finger presses on switch pads adjacent to the selector pad.
The recent development of multiple-touch sensitive surfaces that lack the restrictions of distinct mechanical keys warrants a reexamination of chording schemes. Direct adaptation of the chord keying schemes cited above to a multi-touch surface certainly seems feasible, but may not be desirable. U.S. Pat. No. 5,825,352 to Bisset et al. describes a touchpad with row and column electrodes that produces pointing in response to single finger motion and dragging in response to two finger motion. U.S. Pat. No. 6,107,997, Ure utilizes the touch sensor array of U.S. Pat. No. 5,194,862 and interprets single finger motions as pointing while interpreting various placements of a 2-finger chord on a grid as key entry. In U.S. application Ser. No. 09/236,513, however, Westerman and Elias take yet another approach, interpreting asynchronous touches on a multi-touch surface (MTS) as conventional single-finger typing while interpreting motions initiated by chords as pointing, clicking, and other gesture commands. We prefer this approach for the following reasons: learning a few new chords for graphical manipulation is much easier than learning a slew of new chords for typing the whole alphabet, and graphical manipulation seems a better use of chords in today's graphics intensive computing environment. In dictation situations where greater text entry speeds are needed than can be achieved with non-chordic keying, adopting a continuous speech recognition system for text entry is becoming more practical than learning a chord keying technique.
Non-chordic touch typing on surfaces that provide limited tactile feedback presents its own difficulties. If the typist is not careful, the hands or individual fingers tend to drift out of alignment with the key layout, or more particularly with the home row of keys where hands normally rest. Reaching for punctuation and modifier keys located on the periphery of QWERTY computer keyboard layouts exacerbates this drift. Though the Shift modifier key is not particularly far from the home row keys, the direction of pinky motion needed to reach Shift strongly pulls the other fingertips off their alignment with home row. Since the Shift modifier key must be reached so frequently to capitalize words, even typists using mechanical keyboards have long complained about the awkward pinky twist and ulnar deviation at the wrist necessary to hold it down. Accurately, hitting the Shift keys becomes, if anything, more awkward on a relatively smooth surface that does not give like a mechanical key.
In the related ergonomic and chord keyboard art exemplified by
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In its primary aspect, this invention introduces four-fingertip modifier chords to eliminate the hand twist and reach traditionally required to activate modifier keys. Simultaneously dropping the four long fingertips of a hand into a modifier zone on or near the home row keys applies the Shift modifier to subsequent typing or pointing input so long as any finger from the modifier chord remains touching the surface. Typically, then, the modifier will apply to activity by the opposite hand, but the present invention also lets a hand modify its own typing, thereby allowing capitalization of whole words, if at least one of its modifier chord fingertips remains touching as others lift to strike nearby keys. The four-fingertips (excluding the thumb) chord is preferred for this role because it is the easiest to drop and hold on the surface besides the five-finger chord, which must be reserved for hand resting.
Since the four-fingertip chord is also preferred for window scrolling, and since it is often a prelude to dropping the thumb into the full five-finger hand resting chord, the present invention takes special precautions to prevent accidental modifier activation. The modifier press signal is not sent to the host computer immediately upon detection of the modifier chord touchdown. The modifier press will only be sent, commiting the modifier, upon detection of modifiable input activity by other than the thumb of the modifying hand. Modifiable input activity can include any user action that produces a keypress, pointing, dragging, clicking or other command for the host computer, but does not typically include resting touches that cause no signals to be output. Any touch by the modifying hand's thumb detected before commit will immediately cancel the modifier chord, effectively turning it into a hand resting chord. Such thumb touches after the modifier press or commit need not permanently cancel the modifier. However, if these thumb touches represent editing keys such as Space or BackSpace keypresses, the Shift modifier signal may release temporarily while the thumb key is transmitted since the typist is most likely just erasing or putting a normal space between two capitalized words.
Restricting the Shift modifier chord to a zone along home row encourages typists to return their hands to the home typing position. Furthermore, this allows a Ctrl modifier zone to be established along the row of keys above home row, an easy stretch from home row. A third modifier zone can be established along the row of keys below home row for rarer modifiers such as Alt, Windows, Open Apple, or Meta. Even a fourth modifier zone is possible approximately two key rows below home row. Note that all of these modifier zones can be reached through straight flexion or extension of the fingers from their home row position-absolutely no twisting or rotation of the wrist or fingers is necessary.
According to the present invention, multiple modifiers are activated by the same hand simultaneously when the fingertips of the modifier chord are clearly distributed into different modifier zones. To compensate for the natural arch in a row of fingertips, the vertical offset of each finger is measured relative to the home row key the finger normally rests upon. Accidental activation of a multiple zones is prevented by checking for a minimum interval between the vertical offsets of fingertips in different zones. If this condition is not met, the average of the vertical fingertip offsets is used to choose a single modifier zone. Distributing the fingertips into different zones does imply some finger twisting, but does not cause as much hand drift as reaching for multiple modifier keys on the periphery of the key layout.
In an alternative embodiment of this invention, different modifiers can be activated in a manner independent of any zones or the overall hand position on the surface. Rather, they are distinguished by different horizontal and vertical separations between the four fingertips performing the chord. Shift, for example, might be activated by the normal relaxed placement of four fingertips in a row with about 2 cm (¾″) separating the fingertip centers. Ctrl would then be activated by placing the fingertips stretched along the row with an average 3 cm (1⅛″) separation between them. A third modifier could be activated by splitting the fingertips vertically into two rows a couple cm apart. This aspect of the invention is most useful for non-typing situations where hand motions are not focused around a default position along home row. With this aspect, a hand can, for instance, apply different modifiers to mouse clicking activity on the opposite hand without having to reposition itself within certain modifier zones.
A primary objective of the present invention is to provide an apparatus capable of detecting four-fingertip modifier chords that obviate the awkward pinky or thumb reaches previously needed to strike and hold modifier keys.
Another objective of this invention is to prevent spurious modifier chord activation when the user is slowly relaxing into a hand resting chord, but does not initially have the thumb on the surface.
A further objective of this invention is to allow use of the Shift modifier chord for capitalization across words without applying the Shift modifier to intervening Space or BackSpace key activations by thumbs.
Yet another objective of this invention is to establish different modifier zones across, above, and below the home row of keys that can be utilized to apply different modifiers.
A further objective of this invention is to support simultaneous activation of multiple modifiers with the same hand when the fingertips of the modifier chord are clearly distributed among different modifier zones.
Another objective of this invention is to support selection of different modifiers from the relative arrangement of fingertips within a modifier chord rather than their placement within any particular zone on the surface.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
In the preferred embodiment, the typing recognition methods of this invention are utilized within a multi-touch system like that shown in FIG. 1. The sensor scanning hardware 6 detects touches by fingers 2 on the touch surface 4. The proximity image formation 8 and contact tracking and identification 10 modules determine the touch timing and surface coordinates and report these to the typing recognizer 12. The typing recognizer decides which keys the user intended to press and tells the host communications interface 16 to send those keys to the host computer 18. The chord motion recognizer module 14 that interprets lateral sliding of multiple fingers as pointing or gesture input and effectively disables the typing recognizer for such touches. The synchronization detector 13 searches for simultaneous presses or releases of multiple fingers, thereby aiding in detection of chord slides, chord taps, resting hands, and, for the purposes of this invention, modifier chords. Prior art embodiments of all modules in
Those skilled in the art will recognize that the modifier chord recognition method disclosed herein could be utilized with any sensing device that accurately reports the lateral position of multiple fingertips on a surface. Likewise, the modifier chord recognition software need not reside within the sensing device. It could just as easily execute within the host computer system, or the host computer system and sensing device might be combined such that the same microprocessor executes finger tracking, modifier chord recognition, and user application software. Those with ordinary skill in the art will also be aware that some keyboard interfacing protocols use edge-signaling of key activation state while others use level-signaling. For instance, keyboards with the legacy PS/2 interface for IBM-compatible PCs will transmit a press keycode only upon initial activation of a modifier keyswitch and will send a corresponding release keycode immediately after the finger lifts off the switch. Thus the press/release keycodes are only transmitted at edges or transitions in the state of the keyswitch. Keyboards communicating via the more recent USB (Universal Serial Bus) protocol use level-signaling: as long as a keyswitch is depressed, the keyboard regularly and repeatedly sends the corresponding keycode to the host computer. There are no distinct press and release keycodes. This disclosure will use the edge-signaling, press/release terminology throughout to describe transmission of modifiers to the host computer 18, but it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art how any edge-signaling implementation of the host communications interface 16 can be converted to level-signaling and remain well within the scope of this invention.
The key layout illustrated in
In contrast to prior art
In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, modifier chord recognition is split into three processes as shown in FIG. 4. Process 56, detailed in
The new modifier chord detection process is shown in FIG. 8. This process begins whenever a new finger touch is detected by the contact tracking and identification module 10. Step 150 increments the latest touch index n and stores the touch's parameters 80 at the n th location of the touch sequence array T[ ]. Steps 152, 154, and 156 scan backward m touches in the touch sequence trying to find the largest synchronized subsequence that includes the new touch T[n]. Decision diamond 154 judges synchronization by testing whether the m th previous touch T[n−m] contacted the surface within a synchronization interval of about 60 milliseconds of the new touch T[n]. Note that the typing recognizer 12 should not generate signals to the host corresponding to an individual touch over a key until sufficient time has passed without subsequent touches on the same hand that this synchronization detection loop can be certain that the touch is not synchronized with later touches. Thus the typing recognizer 12 must delay key output about 60 ms from finger touchdown or be prepared to erase or undo keys from touches later found to be part of a chord. Once decision diamond 154 finds a previous touch too old to be synchronized with T[n], it passes on the largest synchronized subsequence as T[n−m+1] . . . T[n].
Decision diamond 158 then examines the finger and hand identity 84 of each synchronized touch looking for a combination of identifies from one hand that matches any combination allowed for modifier chords. In the preferred embodiment, only the 4 fingertip combination, index, middle, ring and pinky, excluding the thumb, is used for modifier chords. To prevent duplicate detection of the same modifier chord, decision diamond 158 must require the newest touch T[n] to be one of the modifier chord fingertips. Otherwise, any synchronized touches intervening from the hand opposite a modifier chord combination do not affect the modifier chord, but the modifier chord may eventually apply its modifiers to them as in touch 370 of FIG. 13. If the synchronized subsequence does not contain a modifier chord combination from either hand, the process returns 160 until the next new touch warrants a renewed detection attempt.
Assuming a modifier chord combination from one hand is found within the synchronized subsequence, block 162 forms a touch array MT[ ] indexed by finger identity containing only the modifier chord touches. As further described in
If decision diamond 262 detects an interzone fingertip separation violation, the zone index i and selected_mods are reset at steps 280 and 282. Step 284 computes from MT[ ]the average avg_yoffset of all four fingertips' vertical offsets. Decision diamond 286 checks whether this avg_yoffset is within the range of zone Z[i]. If not, step 290 advances the zone index to the next zone until either decision diamond 292 finds all zones have been exhausted or decision diamond 286 finds a matching zone. Assuming avg_yoffset falls within the vertical range of one of the zones, step 288 assigns selected_mods the modifier type(s) of that zone, and step 278 returns these. Note that step 278 will return zero if the fingertips are not within range of any zone.
Before describing in detail the liftoff/cancelation detection process 60 and the search for applicable modifiers 70, it will be helpful to define their preferred behavior with the diagramed typing examples of
FIG 11A shows typing before, during, and after performance of a left hand Shift chord. The initial ‘a’ key touch 310 clearly precedes modifier chord touchdown 93 and so should not be capitalized. Notice that the Shift modifier is not sent to the host, committing the chord 469, until the ‘J’ touch 311 needs to be sent to the host computer, well after modifier chord touchdown. Committing of modifier chords should be thus delayed until transmission of subsequent modifiable activity (the ‘J’ key touch in this case) to allow for the possibility that the 4 fingertips will begin sliding, suggesting that the typist is actually trying to scroll, or be supplemented with a thumb touch, suggesting the typist is just resting the hand sloppily. This subsequent-touch-activity-dependence of modifier chord committing is unique and novel, as the chord and key taps of the related art commit either on liftoff or sufficient touching time of the tapping fingers themselves, while chord slides for pointing and command gestures commit upon significant lateral motion of the involved fingers. The ‘I’ touch 312 is also capitalized, but the Shift modifier is temporarily released while the BackSpace key touch 302 is sent to the host, and then Shift is pressed again at 319 in time for the ‘U’ key touch 313. Decision channel 463 of
Conventional mechanical keyboards never apply modifier keypresses to keys barely preceding the modifier keypresses or just following the modifier key release. The comparative lack of keyswitch action or stroke for touch surfaces lessens the typist's control over the timing between modifier touch and the touches to be modified.
Assuming the chord has not been canceled, decision diamond 456 ensures that modifiable_tstamp does not precede the chord touchdown time 93 by more than a sync_slack of about 60 ms. If the chord more or less precedes the modifiable activity, step 460 establishes a 0 ms default lift_slack. If the modifier chord has only been touching briefly and is not yet committed, decision diamond 462 will cause step 464 to establish a lift_slack of about 100-150 ms, allowing for late modifiable touches as in FIG. 13B. If the chord has been touching a few seconds or has already been committed by other key touches, decision diamond 463 checks whether the modifiable activity is a thumb keypress, and if so, should prevent the modifier chord from applying at least if the chord is a Shift modifier. This will also cause temporary Shift modifier release during thumb key transmission as in FIG. 11A and FIG. 12A. Note that this-check is not done for briefly touching chords that have not committed yet so as to allow the typist to perform, for example, a single Shift BackSpace macro command using a modifier chord from the hand opposite the thumb key.
The remaining steps ensure that the modifier chord did not lift substantially before modifiable_tstamp. This is certainly true if the modifier chord is still touching and has not yet been assigned a non-zero liftoff time, as detected by decision diamond 465. If the chord has already lifted, decision diamond 466 will need to compare the chord liftoff time 94 with the modifiable_tstamp less the lift_slack to determine whether the modifiable activity occurred before or within lift_slack milliseconds after chord liftoff. Assuming the modifiable activity is found to be sufficiently coincident with the modifier chord, step 469 will set the modifier state's committed flag 97, and step 468 will accumulate the modifier types selected by the applicable modifier state. Thus step 469 constitutes the main feedback path 70 from the applicable modifier search process 62 to the modifier state chain 58. Decision diamond 471 checks whether any older modifier states that might be applicable are left in the state chain 58, and if so step 470 continues the search on the previous modifier state. Once the entire state chain has been examined, the process returns at step 472 the modifier types from the modifier chords found applicable. The host computer interface 16 will compare these newly applicable modifier types to a bitmask of the modifier types already pressed and send additional modifier press or release signals to the host computer as necessary.
Those skilled in the chord keying art will realize that this chord modifier recognition method could easily be adapted to keyboards with conventional mechanical keyswitches, assuming the keyswitch matrix was wired such that the keyswitch scanner circuitry could reliably distinguish coincident presses of four home row keys forming the chord as well as one other key to be modified. However, such an adaptation would not be terribly advantageous because the effort needed to press four mechanical homerow keyswitches simultaneously is just about as straining as the awkward pinky reach for a conventional Shift key. However, when modifier chords are utilized with a proximity sensing multi-touch surface as in the preferred embodiment, holding the chord requires no effort giving modifier chords significant advantage over the pinky reach for a conventional Shift key.
While modifier zones beneficially allow simultaneous selection of any combination of up to four different modifier types by a single hand, the typist must be careful of hand alignment with respect to the zones to operate them accurately. On surfaces without a home row of keys to encourage hand alignment, or when the user is primarily pointing rather than typing, an alternative, hand-position-independent method to select different types of modifiers is desirable.
The pattern matching process of
Those with ordinary skill in the art will be able to adapt the present invention to use different finger combinations such as three fingertips, or a thumb and three fingertips for modifier chords. However, the four fingertip combination is both easiest to perform and by far most compatible with the typing, hand resting, and pointing activities that can also take place on a multi-touch surface. Using the thumb and three fingertips is a bit more awkward and would necessitate cancellation when the pinky, or in general, a fifth digit touched the surface before commit by other modifiable input activity. Using three fingertips for modifier chords would necessitate cancellation when either the thumb or a fourth fingertip from the modifier chord hand touched the surface before commit by modifiable activity on the opposite hand. Three fingertips modifier chords would also be incompatible with drag operations that are preferably assigned to three-fingertips on a multi-touch surface.
Though embodiments and applications of this invention have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that numerous further embodiments and modifications than mentioned above are possible without departing from the inventive concepts disclosed herein. The invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the true spirit and scope of the appended claims.
1. A multi-touch surface apparatus that interprets 4-finger chords performed concurrently with other input activity as modifiers of that input activity, thereby avoiding awkward thumb or pinky reaches for conventional modifier keys, reducing hand strain and reducing the tendency of hands to drift off of home row, the apparatus comprising:
- multiple-touch sensing means that reports the locations and times of finger contacts with a surface,
- modifier configuration means establishes modifier zones as horizontal bands across the surface and associates each modifier zone with one or more modifier types;
- synchronization detection means that scans for modifier chord touchdowns consisting of substantially simultaneous touches by four and no more than four digits of a hand;
- modifier zone selection means that selects modifier types for the chord according to which modifier zones said simultaneous touches fall within;
- chord cancellation means that cancels a modifier chord if the remaining unsynchronized digit from its hand touches before other modifiable input activity commits the chord;
- modifier applicability search means that commits the modifier chord and sends modifier press signals corresponding to the chord's selected modifier types to a host computer upon detection of modifiable input activity that occurs substantially between touchdown and liftoff of the modifier chord; and,
- chord liftoff detection means that reports when none of the digits originally constituting the modifier chord are touching the surface and sends modifier release signals to the host computer accordingly.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the apparatus additionally comprises a typing recognition means and surface key layout with a home row of keys upon which the hands normally rest, wherein the four digits that can constitute a modifier chord do not include the thumb, and wherein Shift modifier zones are configured along the home row of keys and other modifier types are configured for zones substantially above and below the home row of keys.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein any Shift signals arising from a committed modifier chord are temporarily released during transmission to the host of keypress signals from a thumb key touch and then re-pressed if the modifier chord has not yet lifted.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the modifier zone selection means compensates for the natural arch in a row of relaxed fingers by computing for each touch of the modifier chord a vertical offset from a default location of the finger whose identity a contact identification means has assigned to the touch.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the modifier zone selection means simultaneously selects the modifier types from each zone within which any of the simultaneous touches fall except if some of the simultaneous touches are bunched straddling the border between two zones, in which case the modifier type associated with the single zone that the average of the vertical offsets lies within is selected.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the locations of the modifier zones on the surface are indicated to the user via printing on the surface background colors or textures unique to each zone.
7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the locations of the modifier zones on the surface are indicated to the user via active surface display of background colors or textures unique to each zone.
8. A multi-touch surface apparatus that interprets certain finger chords performed concurrently with other input activity as modifiers of that input activity, thereby avoiding awkward thumb or pinky reaches for conventional modifier keys, reducing hand strain and reducing the need to reposition the hands, the apparatus comprising:
- multiple-touch sensing means that reports the locations and times of finger contacts with a surface;
- modifier configuration means that establishes finger arrangement templates and associates each template with one or more modifier types;
- synchronization detection means that scans for modifier chord touchdowns consisting of substantially simultaneous touches by a predetermined combination of digits of a hand;
- finger arrangement matching means that selects for the chord the modifier types associated with the template that most closely matches the arrangement of the modifier chord touches;
- chord cancellation means that cancels a modifier chord if the remaining digits from its hand not included in the predetermined combination touch before other modifiable input activity commits the chord;
- modifier applicability search means that commits the modifier chord and sends modifier press signals corresponding to the chord's selected modifier types to a host computer upon detection of modifiable input activity that occurs substantially between touchdown and liftoff of the modifier chord; and
- modifier chord liftoff detection means that reports when none of the digits originally constituting the modifier chord are touching the surface and sends modifier release signals to the host computer accordingly.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein any Shift signals arising from a committed modifier chord are temporarily released during transmission to the host of keypress signals from thumb key touches and then re-pressed if the modifier chord has not yet lifted.
10. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein four fingertips excluding the thumb is used as the predetermined combination of digits, the neutral four fingertip arrangement of FIG. 16A is associated with the shift modifier type, and the horizontally spread arrangement template of FIG. 16B is associated with the Ctrl modifier type.
11. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the template matching means computes the matching error as the sum of squared distances between each template point's offset from template center and the offset to the corresponding modifier chord touch from chord center, thus making the matching process independent of where the chord is performed on the surface.
12. A method of controlling a modifier on a multi-touch surface having a key layout thereon, the method comprising:
- activating the modifier by simultaneously dropping a plurality of fingertips of a hand into a modifier zone on or near a home row of the key layout; and
- maintaining activation of the modifier by leaving at least one of the plurality of fingertips in contact with the modifier zone.
13. The method of claim 12 further comprising:
- deactivating the modifier by removing each of the plurality of fingertips from contact with the modifier zone.
14. The method of claim 12 further comprising:
- deactivating the modifier by placing a thumb of the hand in contact with the key layout.
15. The method of claim 12 wherein the modifier zone on or near a home row of the key layout may be reached through straight flexion or extension of the fingers from their home row position.
16. The method of claim 12 further comprising:
- concurrently activating a second modifier key by simultaneously dropping a plurality of fingertips of the hand into two modifier zones on or near a home row of the key layout, wherein the fingertips are clearly distributed into the two modifier zones.
17. A multi-touch surface having embodied thereon a key layout, the key layout comprising at least one modifier zone on or near a home row of the key layout wherein a modifier will be activated by the simultaneous touchdown of a plurality of fingertips within the at least one modifier zone and maintained by leaving at least one of the plurality of fingertips in contact with the modifier zone.
18. The multi-touch surface of claim 17 comprising a plurality of modifier zones on or near a home row of the key layout, wherein each modifier zone corresponds to a different modifier.
19. The multi-touch surface of claim 18 wherein each of the plurality of modifier zones is indicated by a different color.
20. A method of processing incoming signals from a multi-touch surface, the method comprising:
- detecting modifier chords by monitoring the incoming touch sequence for simultaneous touchdowns of a plurality of fingertips of a hand within one or more predetermined modifier zones; and, if a new modifier chord is detected: allocating a corresponding modifier state data structure; and appending the modifier state data structure to a modifier chord state chain; and
- checking for cancellation of a modifier chord; and, if cancellation of a modifier chord is detected: recording either a modifier chord liftoff time or modifier chord cancellation.
21. The method of claim 20 further comprising:
- searching a modifier state chain for un-cancelled modifier chords roughly coincident with modifiable input activity; and, if any applicable modifier chords whose signals have not already been sent to a host computer are identified;
- sending the modifier signals to the host computer.
22. A multi-touch surface apparatus comprising:
- a multi-touch surface that reports the locations and times of finger contacts with a surface;
- a synchronization detector that scans for modifier chord touchdowns consisting of substantially simultaneous touches by a plurality of digits of a hand in a pre-defined modifier zone on the multi-touch surface and sends modifier signals accordingly; and
- a chord liftoff detector that reports when none of the digits originally constituting the modifier chord are touching the surface and sends modifier release signals accordingly.
23. The multi-touch surface apparatus of claim 22 wherein there are a plurality of pre-defined modifier zones on the multi-touch surface, each pre-defined modifier zone corresponding to a different modifier, the multi-touch surface apparatus further comprising:
- a modifier zone selector that selects modifier types for the chord according to which modifier zones the simultaneous touches fall within.
24. The multi-touch surface apparatus of claim 23 further comprising:
- a chord canceller that cancels a modifier chord if a remaining unsynchronized digit from the hand touches the multi-touch surface before other modifiable input activity commits the chord.
25. The multi-touch surface apparatus of claim 22 further comprising:
- a chord canceller that cancels a modifier chord if a remaining unsynchronized digit from the hand touches the multi-touch surface before other modifiable input activity commits the chord.
26. The apparatus of any of claims 22-25 further comprising a key layout on the multi-touch surface, the key layout having a home row wherein a first modifier zone is configured along the home row.
27. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein at least one additional modifier zone is configured adjacent the home row.
28. The apparatus of claim 27 wherein the at least one additional modifier zone comprises a second modifier zone above the home row and a third modifier zone below the home row.
29. The apparatus of claim 28 wherein the modifiers corresponding to the first, second, and third modifier zones are selected from the group consisting of Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Windows, Open Apple, or Meta.
30. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the location of the modifier zone is indicated by printing on the multi-touch surface.
31. The apparatus of claim 30 wherein the printing on the multi-touch surface comprises background color.
32. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the location of the modifier zone is indicated by texture on the multi-touch surface.
33. The apparatus of any of claims 27-29, wherein the locations of the modifier zones are indicated by printing on the multi-touch surface.
34. The apparatus of claim 33 wherein the printing on the multi-touch surface comprises a unique background color for each zone.
35. The apparatus of claim 27-29 wherein the locations of the modifier zones are indicated by texture on the multi-touch surface.
36. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the location of the modifier zone is indicated by active surface display of background color.
37. The apparatus of claim 26 wherein the location of the modifier zone is indicated by active surface display of texture.
38. The apparatus of any of claims 27-29 wherein the locations of the modifier zones are indicated by active surface display of background colors unique to each zone.
39. The apparatus of claim 27-29 wherein the locations of the modifier zones are indicated active surface display of textures unique to each zone.
40. A multi-touch surface apparatus comprising:
- a multi-touch surface that reports the locations and times of finger contacts with a surface;
- a synchronization detector that scans for modifier chord touchdowns consisting of substantially simultaneous touches by a predetermined combination of digits of a hand in a predetermined arrangement;
- finger arrangement matcher that selects a modifier corresponding to the modifier chord and sends modifier signals accordingly; and
- a chord liftoff detector that reports when none of the digits originally constituting the modifier chord are touching the surface and sends modifier release signals accordingly.
41. The multi-touch surface apparatus of claim 40 further comprising:
- a chord canceller that cancels a modifier chord if the remaining digits from its hand not include in the predetermined combination touch before other modifiable input activity commits the chord.
42. The multi-touch surface apparatus of claim 40 or 41 wherein the predetermined arrangement is selected from the group consisting of a neutral fingertip arrangement and a spread fingertip arrangement.
43. The multi-touch surface apparatus of claim 42 wherein the modifiers associated with the predetermined arrangement are selected from the group consisting of: Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Windows, Open Apple, or Meta.
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Filed: May 27, 2005
Date of Patent: Mar 18, 2008
Assignee: Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA)
Inventors: Wayne Carl Westerman (San Francisco, CA), John Greer Elias (Townsend, DE)
Primary Examiner: Alexander Eisen
Attorney: Morrison & Foerster LLP
Application Number: 11/140,529
International Classification: G09G 5/00 (20060101);