The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention concerns electronic devices. More particularly, the invention concerns electronic devices comprising a multi-purpose component circumscribing an electronic component thereof (e.g., an input device, output device or electrical connector).
"Electronic devices having interfaces for facilitating user-software interactions are well known in the art. Such electronic devices include, but are not limited to, mobile phones, MP3 players, personal computers, Personal Digital Assistants ('PDAs'), game pads, digital cameras, Global Positioning System ('GPS') devices, biometric fingerprint sensor devices, and keyboards. The interfaces may include display screens, keypads, trackballs, joysticks, pointing sticks, buttons, scroll wheels, and Optical Finger Navigation ('OFN') devices.
"An OFN device generally uses a light source to illuminate a navigation surface so that motion can be detected. In this regard, an OFN device typically comprises a Light Guide Film ('LGF'), a light source, and a sensor. The light source directs light into the LGF. The light source may be a Light Emitting Diode ('LED') or a laser. The LGF includes a finger interface surface to facilitate finger contact with the LGF. A finger's physical contact with the finger interface surface causes light to be reflected off of the finger in a direction towards and/or away from the sensor. The sensor generates images from the light directed thereto. Changes in the images generated by the sensor are interpreted as movement by the finger in contact with the LGF. In response to the detection of finger movement, signals are generated by the sensor including information specifying the finger's movement. Such information includes movement vectors (e.g., relative displacement values along an X axis and a Y axis). The signals are then communicated from the OFN to a microcontroller of an electronic device. At the microcontroller, operations are performed to cause corresponding movements of a navigation indicator to be seen on a display screen or to cause other computer functionality to be controlled in accordance with the finger movement. The navigation indicator often includes a cursor, a highlighter, or an arrow. The other computer functionality may include volume control, audio/video playback control, browser control, and game action control."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Embodiments of the present invention concern systems and methods for packaging an electronic component in an electronic device. The methods involve circumscribing the electronic component with a multi-purpose component at least partially formed of a transparent material and a compressible material. A water tight seal is created by the multi-purpose component between the electronic component and a housing of the electronic device. After the water tight seal is formed, the multi-purpose component and electronic component are retained in the housing such that only one side of the electronic component is accessible by a user of the electronic device. The retention can be achieved by: disposing a cap below the multi-purpose component and electronic device; and coupling a cap to the housing. Subsequently, the multi-purpose component provides an indicator for indicating a location of the electronic component on the electronic device to a user thereof in dark or semi-dark environments. The indicator is provided by emitting light from the multi-purpose component. The multi-purpose component also communicates status information of the electronic device to the user by emitting light therefrom. Various types of status information can be communicated to the user by emitting different colored light from the multi-purpose component, respectively.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"Embodiments will be described with reference to the following drawing figures, in which like numerals represent like items throughout the figures, and in which:
"FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a cut away portion of an exemplary electronic device.
"FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of an OFN device that is useful for understanding the present invention.
"FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration of a first exemplary embodiment of a multi-purpose component.
"FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the multi-purpose component taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 3.
"FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary cap for retaining an OFN device and a multi-purpose component in an aperture of an electronic device.
"FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of an immersible OFN assembly.
"FIG. 7 is a perspective cross-sectional view of an exemplary immersible OFN assembly coupled to a housing of an electronic device.
"FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the multi-purpose component chemically and mechanically bonded to a housing portion of an electronic device.
"FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a cap shown in FIG. 7.
"FIG. 10 is a perspective cross-sectional view of another exemplary immersible OFN assembly coupled to a housing of an electronic device.
"FIG. 11 is a perspective view of yet another exemplary immersible OFN assembly.
"FIG. 12 is a perspective cross-sectional view of the immersible OFN assembly shown in FIG. 11.
"FIG. 13 is a perspective cross-sectional view of the immersible OFN assembly shown in FIG. 11 disposed in a housing of an electronic device.
"FIG. 14 is a flow diagram of an exemplary method packaging an electronic component in an electronic device."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Bertrand, Nicole; Cipolla, David; Duran, Jose R.;
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Microcontroller,
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