The patent's assignee for patent number 8654086 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "As the components required to build a computer system have reduced in size, new categories of computer systems have emerged. One of the new categories of computer systems is the 'palmtop' computer system. A palmtop computer system is a computer that is small enough to be held in the hand of a user and can therefore be 'palm-sized.' Most palmtop computer systems are used to implement various Personal Information Management (PIM) applications such as an address book, a daily organizer and electronic notepads, to name a few. Palmtop computers with PIM software have been know as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs).
"Data entry on a palmtop computer has been a challenge. Since palmtop computer systems are very small, full-sized keyboards are generally not efficient input devices. Palmtop computers using keyboards have keyboard devices that are so small that a user cannot touch-type. Furthermore, to use a keyboard device, a user must either place the palmtop computer system down onto a flat surface, so the user can type with both hands, or the user holds the palmtop computer system with two hands and types with thumbs only.
"Instead of a mechanical keyboard device, some palmtop computers utilize a touch screen and display an image of a small keyboard thereon. When a particular button is pressed or tapped, a small keyboard image is displayed on the display screen. The user then interacts with the on-screen small keyboard image to enter characters, usually one character at a time. To interact with the displayed keyboard image (e.g., 'virtual keyboard'), the user taps the screen location of a character with a pen or stylus. That corresponding character is then recognized and added to a data entry field, also displayed on the screen. However, for experienced users, the virtual keyboard input system can be a tedious input process.
"Instead of using a mechanical keyboard device or a displayed keyboard, many palmtop computers employ a pen and a digitizer pad as an input system. The pen and digitizer pad combination works well for palmtop computers because the arrangement allows a user to hold the palmtop computer system in one hand while writing with the pen onto the digitizer pad with the other hand.
"A number of palmtop computer systems that rely on the pen and digitizer pad combination as the primary means of input have been introduced to the market. Most of these pen-based palmtop computer systems provide some type of handwriting recognition system whereby the user can write words and letters on the digitizer pad with a stylus. The palmtop computer system then converts the user's handwriting into a machine readable format such as ASCII code characters. Examples of pen-based palmtop computer systems that provide handwriting recognition include the Apple Newton (trademark) device and the Tandy Zoomer (trademark) device.
"Digitizers have eliminated the need for a mechanical keyboard device. Therefore, palmtop computer systems are readily portable and can easily be carried on or near the user, e.g., in a pocket, purse or briefcase. Since they can be carried by a user, the user has many opportunities to use the palmtop computer during the day. Since the palmtop computer is typically battery operated, it is recommended to turn off the computer at the completion of each separate use. As such, each time the palmtop is used, an on/off button is typically pressed to turn on power to the computer system, including the display device. Therefore, each time the palmtop computer is to be used, the on/off button is pressed and after use the on/off button is pressed again to turn off the palmtop computer. The more times the computer is used, the more times the on/off button needs to be pressed to gain access to the palmtop computer. If the palmtop computer is being used merely to access (or amend or transmit) a small bit of information and then turned off, the process of pressing the on/off button twice can be a substantial amount of the user's task just to obtain or amend the desired information thereby rendering tedious the use of the computer.
"Users always want easier ways and mechanisms to access information on the palmtop computer. Any improvement that reduces the user's repetitive tasks in obtaining information and making use of a palmtop computer system is open to wide consumer acceptance. Therefore, it would be advantageous to make easier and less tedious the user's tasks in accessing information from a palmtop computer system."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Accordingly, what is needed is an improvement that reduces the number of repetitive tasks required of a user in order to obtain information and make use of a palmtop computer system. What is needed is a method and system that reduces the repetitive tasks required in turning on and turning off the palmtop computer system. The present invention provides these advantages and others not specifically mentioned above but described in the sections to follow.
"A method and system are described for automatic power-up and automatic power-down of a computer system based on the position and/or rotation of an associated stylus and/or hinge. In one embodiment, the computer system is a portable computer having a logic board, a display screen, a digitizer and a receiving slot for an associated stylus. The stylus is used with the digitizer in well known character recognition modes. When the stylus is removed from the receiving slot, a switch automatically turns full power onto the computer system thereby allowing a user full use of the computer without requiring an on/off button to be pressed. When the stylus is inserted back into the receiving slot, the switch automatically returns the computer to a power reduction mode where one or all of the components of the computer are powered down. Again, the power reduction mode is entered without requiring the user to press the on/off button. The switch can be made of a single detector or a dual detector combination and can be of a mechanical, electro-magnetic, optical, inductive, capacitive or electrical nature. The switch and detector can also be implemented using a microswitch device. By using the position of the stylus to automatically perform power on and off functions, the repetitive tasks required to access information from the palmtop are reduced.
"In another embodiment, the stylus-based automatic power-up and power-down features work in concert with other power-up and power-down mechanisms of the computer, such power-on interrupts, the on/off button, and time-out power off modes. In another embodiment, the stylus is a hinge attached to a cover that can be rotated to protect the palmtop computer (like a book cover) or rotated away to use the palmtop computer (like opening a book). When rotated to cover, the switch automatically powers down the computer. When rotated out for computer use, the switch automatically powers up the computer. By using the position of the hinge to automatically perform power up and down functions, the repetitive tasks required to access information from the palmtop are reduced.
"More specifically, an embodiment of the present invention includes a computer system comprising: a processor coupled to bus; a memory unit coupled to the bus; a display screen coupled to the bus; a digitizer coupled to the bus; a case for supporting the processor, the memory unit, the display screen and the digitizer, the case having a slot located therein for receiving a stylus; a detector for detecting a stylus within said slot; and a switch coupled to the detector and for generating a signal to power up the processor, the display screen and the digitizer when the stylus is removed from the slot and wherein the switch is also for generating a signal to place the processor, the display screen and the digitizer into a power conservation mode when the stylus is inserted into the slot. Embodiments include a power on and power off method implemented in accordance with the above.
"Embodiments also include a computer system comprising: a processor coupled to bus; a memory unit coupled to the bus; a display screen coupled to the bus; a digitizer coupled to the bus; a case for supporting the processor, the memory unit, the display screen and the digitizer, the case having a slot located therein for receiving a hinge attached to a protective cover; a detector for detecting the rotational positions of the hinge within the slot; a switch coupled to said detector and for generating a signal to automatically power up the processor, the display screen and the digitizer when the hinge is rotated such that the cover is not laid over the display screen and wherein the switch is also for generating a signal to automatically place the processor, the display screen and the digitizer into a power conservation mode when the hinge is rotated such that the cover is laid over the display screen."
For additional information on this patent, see: Nicolas, Regis; Osborn, Neal. Method and System for Changing the Power State of a Portable Electronic Device. U.S. Patent Number 8654086, filed
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