Configurable Keyboard

Has this
configurable keyboard been reported upon before? (Sorry if this is a repeat.)

Now, a fixed HP-33S with dynamically reconfigurable keytops would be really cool!

[edit: Of course I meant 35s rather than 33.]

Edited: 30 May 2009, 2:01 a.m. after one or more responses were posted


Sure, if you don't mind a rather large $750 calculator. (Probably even more expensive than that, since the market would be miniscule.)

The keys on the actual production Optimus don't look so great. The display is recessed and does not move with the key, and the keycaps get greasy and dirty very quickly. If you have an iPhone or the like, how often do you find that you need to clean it or at least wipe it off? Now imagine having to do that to a whole bunch of separate keycaps.

Besides, when I operate a keyboard on a device, I want to be looking at the display, not the keys.


Funny you should mention it. I thought about making the keyboard on my virtual calc OLED. So, if you press a Shift key, all of the other keys would change symbol and the Shift key would have inverse video, etc.

I've already filled out the paperwork for the patent, so I'm one step, and only one step, ahead of you ;)


Not to burst your bubble or anything, but there's quite a bit of prior art on that, so getting a patent may be an uphill battle.


He should have no problem getting a patent, because they don't really check for prior art anymore (semi-officially the USPTO now leaves that burden to the courts). Anyone can get a patent for pretty much anything.

It would just be pointless, because he would have then wasted $10,000+ getting an unenforceable patent. But if he likes throwing away money just so he can brag to his friends that he has the cash to burn on obtaining a patent, you might as well let him humor himself.


I was joking about the patent my friends. I agree with Eric's assessment about astronomical costs. It's a cool idea that may never be implemented, or at least for a few hundred years, if calculators are still in use.




I bet the vintage HP calcs still work a few hundred years from now... in the Museum of Vintage Calculators. :)


I think the technology to do dynamic keyboard legends on low-cost consumer products such as calculators will probably be developed within the next 20 years. It just isn't quite here yet.


I'm not sure if it meets your definition of low cost, but Samsung has a mobile phone with a keyboard with dynamic legends, using electronic ink technology (like the Sony Reader):

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