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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Self-Guided Key Switch and Keyboard Configured with Same", for Approval

September 3, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors CHEN, Fei-Ya (Douliu City, TW); KAO, Huang-Hsiao (Taoyuan City, TW), filed on April 12, 2013, was made available online on August 21, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Darfon Electronics Corp.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A conventional computer keyboard is configured with a plurality of key switches, each of which moves straight down and then returns straight up in response to a user's push operation. For miniaturization, it is desired to reduce the overall thickness of the keyboard. Therefore, there would be limited travel distance for keystroke. However, thickness reduction over a certain level, for example, from 2 mm to 1 mm of the travel distance, will adversely affect the tactile recognition of a user while hitting the keys."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The invention provides a key switch having a guiding mechanism for guiding the movement of a keycap of the key switch. The key switch has a reduced thickness compared to prior art while maintaining satisfactory tactile recognition for user.

"The invention provides a key switch, which includes a keycap, a base disposed under the keycap, a frame having a receiving space for accommodating the keycap, and a guiding mechanism disposed between the keycap and the base. The receiving space is defined by an X-axis, a Y-axis and a Z-axis, and any two of the X-axis, and the Y-axis and the Z-axis being perpendicular to each other. The guiding mechanism is configured to maintain the keycap in a substantially level orientation parallel to a plane defined by the X-axis and the Y-axis and to guide the keycap to move along a moving path when the keycap is depressed to travel downward. The moving path is configured to impart a first displacement along the X-axis, a second displacement along the Y-axis and a third displacement along the Z-axis.

"The invention also provides a key switch, which includes a base, a keycap disposed above the base, and a guiding mechanism. The keycap is movable between a first position and a second position relative to the base. The guiding mechanism includes at least one guiding groove and at least one protrusion. The protrusion has an arc shaped lateral surface facing the guiding groove. When exerted with an external force, the keycap moves from the first position to the second position by the guiding mechanism, and the arc shaped lateral surface of the protrusion and the guiding groove keep line contact with each other.

"The invention further provides a keyboard, which includes a base; a first keycap disposed above the base and movable between a first position and a second position relative to the base; a first guiding mechanism moving the first keycap from the first position to the second position in response to a first external force exerted on the first keycap; a returning device disposed at a center position on an edge of the first keycap and configured for bringing the first keycap from the second position to the first position when the first external force exerted on the first keycap is released; a second keycap disposed above the base and movable between a third position and a fourth position relative to the base; a second guiding mechanism moving the second keycap from the third position to the fourth position in response to a second external force exerted on the second keycap; two confining mechanisms respectively disposed at two corners of the second keycap for confining a moving range of the second keycap; and a frame disposed around the first keycap and the second keycap and having a common portion extending between the first keycap and the second keycap, wherein the returning device is located between the two confining mechanisms within the common portion of the frame.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The present invention will become more readily apparent to those ordinarily skilled in the art after reviewing the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, in which:

"FIG. 1A schematically illustrates a top and exploded view of a key switch according to an embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 1B schematically illustrates a bottom and exploded view of the key switch shown in FIG. 1A, while some components are omitted from illustration herein;

"FIG. 1C schematically illustrates a partial and enlarged view of a guiding mechanism of the key switch as illustrated in FIG. 1, including a guiding groove;

"FIG. 2A schematically illustrates a perspective view of a key switch according to an embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 2B schematically illustrates a top plane view of the key switch shown in FIG. 2A in an original state;

"FIG. 2C schematically illustrates a top plane view of the key switch shown in FIG. 2A in a pushed state;

"FIG. 3A schematically illustrates a cross-sectional view of a key switch according to an embodiment of the present invention in an original state;

"FIG. 3B schematically illustrates a cross-sectional view of the key switch shown in FIG. 3A in a pushed state;

"FIG. 4A is a schematic top plane view of a part of a keyboard according to an embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 4B is a schematic top plane view of a part of a keyboard according to another embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 5A is a top and exploded view schematically illustrating a guiding mechanism of a key switch according to another embodiment of the invention;

"FIG. 5B illustrates a bottom and exploded view schematically illustrating the guiding mechanism shown in FIG. 5A;

"FIG. 5C schematically illustrates a cross-sectional view of the key switch shown in FIG. 5A in an original state; and

"FIG. 5D schematically illustrates a cross-sectional view of the key switch shown in FIG. 5A in a pushed state."

For additional information on this patent application, see: CHEN, Fei-Ya; KAO, Huang-Hsiao. Self-Guided Key Switch and Keyboard Configured with Same. Filed April 12, 2013 and posted August 21, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5482&p=110&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140814.PD.&OS=PD/20140814&RS=PD/20140814

Keywords for this news article include: Darfon Electronics Corp..

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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