News Column

Patent Application Titled "Ergonomic Thumb Interface for Mobile Phone, Smart Phone, Or Tablet" Published Online

June 12, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Coleman, JR., Lonnie D. (Hercules, CA); Marshall, Charles T. (Atherton, CA), filed on November 15, 2013, was made available online on May 29, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Loopwirez, Inc.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to an interface design that allows the user of a mobile device (e.g., a smart telephone, or a tablet computer) to interact with the device using only one hand, taking advantage of the natural range of motion of the human thumb.

"Current mobile devices have user interfaces that require the user to interact using rectilinear motion (e.g., up, down, left or right) that is based on 90-degree angles. In such a design, the user primarily interacts with the device by holding the device in one hand, and using the index finger, forefinger or fingers in the off-hand. Such interactions are not satisfactory because, to execute certain actions, the user is required to use the off-hand or to execute unnatural motions of the thumb, which can be quite uncomfortable for the user. The current designs also do not offer a user interface that is designed to be used with only one hand."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention provides an ergonomic thumb interface, which allows the user to comfortably execute desired interactions with mobile devices (e.g., smart telephones, and tablet computers) by swiping and tapping in an ergonomically favorable manner that minimizes unnatural motions of the thumb. The ergonomic thumb interface is designed with a focus on the human thumb; and, specifically, on the natural radial range of motion of the human thumb.

"According to one embodiment of the present invention, a user interface is designed for a user to interact with it using the natural range of motion of the thumb. In that embodiment, the user interface incorporates objects along a quarter-circular arc or curved area that is defined by the sweep of the natural movement of the thumb. Within this curved area, the user may make swipe and tap gestures with the thumb to activate the executable programs represented by the graphical objects. In this manner, the user is no longer required to use the off-hand or to use unnatural repetitive movements involving the thumb or other digits.

"The simpler, safer and more refined way for a user to access his or her mobile devices, according to the present invention, has many advantages. For example, users who access a large amount of information, or who access information frequently throughout the day, need no longer be concerned about the repetitive motions and the physical strain associated with these movements. The simplified approach of the present invention releases the user from having to repeatedly adjust hand positions, such as to swipe left to right, or up and down, and tap. By focusing on the natural range of motion of the thumb, the present invention addresses and corrects ergonomic inefficiencies, while maximizing physical comfort. In one embodiment, the user may operate a mobile device effectively and efficiently using only one hand. As a result, the present invention reduces both strain and the wear and tear on hand ligaments that results from repeated use.

"The curved area provides a special 'real estate' in the user interface of a mobile device in which the user of a provider of application programs ('apps') to organize related apps, so as to allow the user easy access to apps that are related or are often used together. In addition, related apps may be integrated using application program interfaces to allow interactions, to share resources and to share and track usage data or other information valuable to app providers.

"The present invention reduces the strain and the wear and tear of hand ligaments that result from repeated use by reducing the amount of flexion in one or more of the distal interphalangeal joint, proximal interphalangeal joint, metacarpalphalangeal joint, and carpometacarpol (basilar) joint.

"The present invention is better understood upon consideration of the detailed description below in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 shows a graphical user interface in landscape mode, having filters set out in concentric circular arcs for access by the user's thumbs, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIGS. 2-8 each show, in a selected graphical user interface, a set of filters and a display of content, according to one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 9 illustrates one graphical user interface design, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIGS. 10(a) and 10 (b) show two screen shots of graphical user interfaces in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 11 illustrates a method for providing and managing a bundle of apps, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIGS. 12(a) and 12(b) show swipe tab 110 provided to expose and hide the arc interface, respectively, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 13 shows, based on the user's interaction with web page 501, message 503 being sent to mobile device 502, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 14 illustrates a process by which Arc Interface-compatible related app 505 detects that the context of web page 501 causing server 403 to send context-relevant message 503 to mobile device 502, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 15 illustrates server 403 including in context-relevant message 503 a download widget 506 for downloading a data object or an app, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 16 shows downloading simultaneously a bundle of apps, when a user of mobile device 502 indicates downloading any app within the bundle of app, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 17 shows that using thumb pressure in conjunction with a rolling thumb motion may be used to indicate commands to expand or constrict a displayed angle of an arc, in accordance with the present invention.

"FIG. 18 illustrates, in a graphical display of the mobile device with a curved screen, the directions of a thumb rolling motion that may be used to express two commands, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention."

For more information, see this patent application: Coleman, JR., Lonnie D.; Marshall, Charles T. Ergonomic Thumb Interface for Mobile Phone, Smart Phone, Or Tablet. Filed November 15, 2013 and posted May 29, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=196&p=4&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140522.PD.&OS=PD/20140522&RS=PD/20140522

Keywords for this news article include: Loopwirez Inc.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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