CA2252302C - Keyboard for an electronic writeboard and method - Google Patents

Keyboard for an electronic writeboard and method Download PDF

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Publication number
CA2252302C
CA2252302C CA 2252302 CA2252302A CA2252302C CA 2252302 C CA2252302 C CA 2252302C CA 2252302 CA2252302 CA 2252302 CA 2252302 A CA2252302 A CA 2252302A CA 2252302 C CA2252302 C CA 2252302C
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Canada
Prior art keywords
application
keyboard
touch sensitive
window
sensitive panel
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Expired - Lifetime
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CA 2252302
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French (fr)
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CA2252302A1 (en
Inventor
Taco Van Ieperen
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Smart Technologies ULC
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Smart Technologies ULC
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Priority to CA 2252302 priority Critical patent/CA2252302C/en
Publication of CA2252302A1 publication Critical patent/CA2252302A1/en
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Publication of CA2252302C publication Critical patent/CA2252302C/en
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical
Application status is Expired - Lifetime legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/048Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI]
    • G06F3/0487Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] using specific features provided by the input device, e.g. functions controlled by the rotation of a mouse with dual sensing arrangements, or of the nature of the input device, e.g. tap gestures based on pressure sensed by a digitiser
    • G06F3/0488Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] using specific features provided by the input device, e.g. functions controlled by the rotation of a mouse with dual sensing arrangements, or of the nature of the input device, e.g. tap gestures based on pressure sensed by a digitiser using a touch-screen or digitiser, e.g. input of commands through traced gestures
    • G06F3/04886Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] using specific features provided by the input device, e.g. functions controlled by the rotation of a mouse with dual sensing arrangements, or of the nature of the input device, e.g. tap gestures based on pressure sensed by a digitiser using a touch-screen or digitiser, e.g. input of commands through traced gestures by partitioning the screen or tablet into independently controllable areas, e.g. virtual keyboards, menus
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/01Input arrangements or combined input and output arrangements for interaction between user and computer
    • G06F3/048Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI]
    • G06F3/0487Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] using specific features provided by the input device, e.g. functions controlled by the rotation of a mouse with dual sensing arrangements, or of the nature of the input device, e.g. tap gestures based on pressure sensed by a digitiser
    • G06F3/0488Interaction techniques based on graphical user interfaces [GUI] using specific features provided by the input device, e.g. functions controlled by the rotation of a mouse with dual sensing arrangements, or of the nature of the input device, e.g. tap gestures based on pressure sensed by a digitiser using a touch-screen or digitiser, e.g. input of commands through traced gestures

Abstract

An electronic writeboard for communicating with a computer including applications software and running an active application comprises a touch sensitive panel on which the screen image output of the computer is displayed. The touch sensitive panel is responsive to user contact and generates events. A keyboard window is displayed on the touch sensitive panel and includes a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys. A driver receives the events and senses user contact on the touch sensitive panel within the keyboard window and generates messages in response thereto. A controller executing a keyboard application receives the messages. The keyboard application processes the messages to provide data to the active application running on the computer corresponding to keys of the keyboard contacted by the user.

Description

KEYBOARD FOR AN ELECTRONIC WRITEBOARD AND METHOD
Field Of The Invention The present invention relates to electronic writeboards and in particular to an on-screen keyboard for an electronic writeboard.

Background Of The Invention Electronic writeboards or whiteboards (EWBs) are known in the art and have been used in conjunction with host computers executing applications software to provide enhanced multimedia and teleconferencing capabilities. An example of an electronic writeboard of this nature is sold by SMART
Technologies Inc. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada under the name SMART Board. The SMART Board electronic writeboard includes a touch sensitive panel, a tool tray accommodating a plurality of tools such as colored pens and an eraser as well as a driver and an associated controller.

In use, the electronic writeboard is connected to a host processor such as a personal computer operating in a Windows environment and executing applications software, via a serial data connection. The electronic writeboard can be operated in one of three modes, namely a projected mouse mode, a projected mark-up mode and a non-projected mode.

In the projected mouse mode, the image displayed on the monitor of the personal computer is projected onto the touch sensitive panel. In this case, the electronic writeboard functions as a giant mouse providing input to the personal computer in response to user contact with the touch sensitive panel.
Specifically, the electronic writeboard generates mouse events in response to user contact with the touch sensitive panel which are conveyed to the personal computer for processing.

Thus, by contacting the touch sensitive panel, the personal computer can be conditioned to open and display menus, to activate displayed menus, to drag icons, to execute software and to switch applications by changing input focus. The latter event of course is achieved by contacting the touch sensitive panel outside of the window of the active application running on by the personal computer.

-2-In the projected markup mode, the coloured pens and eraser are used to contact the touch sensitive panel. The active application running on the personal computer tracks where writing and erasing has occurred and maintains a computerized image of what is drawn on and erased from the touch sensitive panel. The computerized image is projected onto the touch sensitive panel so that user can see the computerized image.

In the non-projected mode, there is no image displayed on the whiteboard by the computer. Contact made on the whiteboard is recorded on the attached computer. Since the whiteboard is in non-projected mode, it is not interactive since users cannot see how their strokes are being recorded. For this reason, in non-projected mode, people write on the whiteboard with standard dry-eraser markers. The computer then tracks their writing and allows them to save the notes later.

To enhance user input abilities, on-screen keyboards for use with electronic writeboards have been considered. For example, Innovative Management Group Inc. of California, U.S.A. has developed an on-screen keyboard sold under the name My-T-Touch. The My-T-Touch keyboard is an extension of a touchscreen interface and uses "Heads Up Display" technology designed to keep a user's focus and concentration in one place. Thus, visual re-focusing and re-positioning, caused by the up and down motion of going from screen to keyboard to screen is reduced.
Unfortunately, prior art on-screen keyboards do not address certain technical issues and therefore, suffer a number of problems. For example, some computer platforms such as Microsoft Windows always ensure that an active application has input focus. In other words, these computer platforms ensure that any application that is selected through a mouse click receives input focus, i.e.
the application becomes active. Thus, when a user contacts a prior art on-screen keyboard displayed on a touch sensitive panel to enter text into an active application, input focus is switched from the active application to the on-screen keyboard.

Unfortunately, only the application with input focus may receive inputs from peripheral devices, such as a mouse or a keyboard. Therefore input focus must

-3-be removed from the on-screen keyboard and given back to the application in order for the application to receive any input from the on-screen keyboard.
Switching input focus from the on-screen keyboard to the application each time the on-screen keyboard is touched causes many unpleasant side effects. Firstly, a change in the activation state of an application causes the application to refresh or redraw portions of itsel This means that every time input focus is changed from the active application to the on-screen keyboard and then back to the application, the application will flicker as it refreshes. Secondly, a loss of input focus causes the application to close all of its open menus. As a result, prior art on-screen keyboards cannot be used to navigate through the menus of an active application. Finally, some applications, such as Internet ExplorerTM, do not retain the text insertion point whenever input focus is lost. This means that when input focus is switched from the active application to the on-screen keyboard and then back to the application, the cursor is often positioned at a different point than where the cursor was prior to the active application losing input focus. In some circumstances, this makes it impossible to type text into certain fields using an on-screen keyboard.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a novel on-screen keyboard for an electronic writeboard and an interactive display system incorporating the same.

Summary Of The Invention According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided an electronic writeboard for communicating with a computer running on a Windows -type operating platform, said computer including applications software and running an active application having input focus comprising:
a touch sensitive panel on which screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;
a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window

-4-and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said corriputer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass the computer operating system and thereby avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.
In a preferred embodiment, the driver passes events resulting from user contact on the touch sensitive panel outside of the keyboard window directly to the computer for processing. During initialization, the controller registers with the driver and provides a keyboard window handler establishing the location of the keyboard window on the touch sensitive panel and a set of message identifiers to allow the driver to communicate with the keyboard application. The driver uses the message identifiers to generate a message to the keyboard application in response to a mouse down event resulting from user contact within the keyboard window. A flag is also set by the driver so that subsequent mouse move events or a mouse up event result in the generation of messages or a message to the keyboard application.
It is also preferred that the keyboard application signals the computer to switch input focus to another application if input focus is given to the keyboard window.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided an interactive display system comprising:
an electronic writeboard;

a computer running on a Windows -based operating platform connected to said electronic writeboard, said computer including applications software and running an active application having input focus; and a projector coupled to said computer and projecting screen image output of said computer onto said electronic writeboard, wherein said electronic writeboard includes:
a touch sensitive panel on which the screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;

-5-a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said computer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass the computer operating system and thereby avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in an electronic writeboard having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, where user contact on said touch sensitive panel results in the generation of mouse events conveyed to a computer running on a Windows -based operating system for processing, a method of inhibiting input focus from being switched from an active application executed by said computer to said on-screen keyboard when said on-screen keyboard is touched, said method comprising the steps of:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window directly to said operating system for processing; and processing events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window and forwarding said processed events directly to said active application thereby to bypass said Windows -based operating system and inhibit a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in computer readable medium embodying a computer program for controlling the display of images, said computer program comprising:

-5a-computer program code for displaying on a touch sensitive display screen within a window, a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
computer program code for sensing contact on the touch sensitive display screen within the keyboard window and generating events corresponding to keys contacted by a user; and computer program code for processing the events and sending data to the active application being run by the processor without shifting input focus to the on-screen keyboard application as a result of contacts on said touch sensitive display within said keyboard window.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in a computer running on a Windows -type platform having code responsible for the automatic activation and deactivation of an application in response to mouse events and executing an active application having input focus, a method of inputting data to the active application via a touch sensitive on-screen application displayed within a window while inhibiting input focus from being switched to said on-screen application as result of contacts within said window, said method comprising the steps of:

detecting user contact on said on-screen application within said window and generating events corresponding to said user contact; and conveying data directly to the active application corresponding to the events thereby to bypass said code.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in an apparatus for controlling the display of images comprising:
a large screen display uncoupled from a projector, which displays a computer-generated image, and which outputs a location signal corresponding to a location on the large-screen display where contact is made; and a computer running at least one application program on a Windows operating system, said computer further running an interrupt routine, the interrupt routine generating a mouse event in response to said location signal and additionally causing the application program to modify the computer-generated image in response to the mouse event, said computer still further running an on-screen keyboard application, said on-screen keyboard application causing the computer to display as - 5b -part of the computer-generated image an on-screen keyboard within a window, said on-screen keyboard application detecting and processing mouse commands generated as a result of user contact on said large-screen display within said window and conveying data to an active application program run by said computer while bypassing the Windows operating system.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for controlling the display of images projected through a projector and generated by a computer running application programs on a Windows operating system, comprising the steps of:

displaying the computer-generated image on a large-screen display uncoupled from the projector, the computer-generated image in part including an on-screen keyboard within a keyboard window;

outputting a location signal corresponding to a location on the large-screen display where contact is made;

running an interrupt routine on the Windows operating system of the computer, the interrupt routine generating a mouse event in response to said location signal; and causing the application program to modify the computer-generated image in response to the mouse event, the computer-generated image being modified at the location on the large-screen display corresponding to the location where contact is made, wherein mouse events generated in response to contacts made on the large-screen display within the keyboard window are processed via a private communication mechanism so that data corresponding to the mouse events is sent to the active application program being run by the computer without being routed through the Windows operating system.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computer readable medium embodying a computer program for controlling the display of images projected through a projector and generated by a computer running application programs on a Windows operating system, the computer program comprising:

computer program code for generating display signals for displaying a computer-generated image on a large-screen display uncoupled from the projector;

- 5c -computer program code for, in response to receiving a location signal corresponding to a location on the large-screen display where a contact is made, running an interrupt routine on the Windows operating system of the computer, the interrupt routine generating a mouse event in response to said location signal; and computer program code for causing an application program running on the computer to modify the computer-generated image in response to the mouse event, the computer-generated image modified at the location on the large-screen display corresponding to the location contact is made, wherein mouse events generated in response to contacts made on the large-screen display within the keyboard window are processed via a private communications mechanism so that data corresponding to the mouse events is sent to the active application program being run by the computer without being routed through the Windows operating system.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided an electronic writeboard for communicating with a computer running on a multitasking operating platform, said computer executing an active application having input focus comprising:

a touch sensitive panel on which screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;

a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;

a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said computer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass code of said operating platform responsible for shifting input focus thereby to avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.

- 5d-According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided an interactive display system comprising:
an electronic writeboard;
a computer running on a multitasking operating platform connected to said electronic writeboard, said computer executing an active application having input focus; and a projector coupled to said computer and projecting screen image output of said computer onto said electronic writeboard, wherein said electronic writeboard includes:
a touch sensitive panel on which the screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;
a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said computer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass code of said operating platform responsible for shifting input focus thereby to avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, where user contact on said touch sensitive panel results in the generation of mouse events conveyed to a computer running on a multitasking operating system, a method of inhibiting input focus from being switched from an active application executed by said computer to said on-screen keyboard when said on-screen keyboard is touched, said method comprising the steps of:

- 5e -detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said operating system for processing; and processing events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window and forwarding said processed events to said active application to bypass code of said operating system responsible for shifting input focus and thereby inhibit a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in a computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;
a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein user input generated in response to user contact within said keyboard window is forwarded to said active application by said keyboard application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to inhibit input focus shifting to said keyboard application.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;
a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein user input generated in response to user contact within said keyboard window is forwarded to said active application by said keyboard application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching - 5f -input focus, said active application retaining said input focus during generation and receiving of said user input.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing; and forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to avoid a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:

detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing;

forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application; and retaining input focus with said active application at least during generating and forwarding of data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window, wherein said on-screen keyboard forwards user input to said active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and - 5g -executing an active application having input focus, a method of inputting data to the active application via a user input application, said active application and user input application being displayed within respective windows on a touch sensitive panel, said method comprising:

detecting user contact within the window of said user input application and generating data corresponding to said user contact;

conveying the generated data to said active application; and retaining input focus with said active application, wherein during said conveying said user input application forwards the generated data to said active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computing device, comprising:
a user input device;
a display configured to detect said user input device; and a processor displaying an application window corresponding to an active application having input focus of said computing device, displaying a user input window corresponding to a user input application while said application window is displayed, said user input window including a plurality of onscreen keys corresponding at least to textual characters and receiving user input on said display, said user input being located within said user input window, wherein said user input application forwards user input to said active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus and wherein said application window retains input focus after user input is received.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;

a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and - 5h-an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein user input generated in response to user contact within said keyboard window is forwarded to said active application by said keyboard application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to treat the user input as if said user input was generated by a physical input device.
According to yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application configured to inhibit said keyboard application from gaining and/or maintaining input focus, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;
a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein said keyboard application forwards user input to said active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to inhibit input focus shifting to said keyboard application.
According to still yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided a computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application configured to inhibit said keyboard from gaining and/or maintaining input focus, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;
a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein said keyboard application forwards user input to said active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus so that said active application retains said input focus during generation and receiving of said user input.

According to still yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing; and forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to inhibit a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.
According to still yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus; and retaining input focus with said active application at least during generating and forwarding of data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window.

According to still yet another aspect of the present invention there is provided in computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and executing an active application having input focus, a method of inputting data to the active application via a user input application, said active application and user input -5j -application being displayed within respective windows on a touch sensitive panel, said method comprising:

detecting user contact within the window of said user input application and generating data corresponding to said user contact;
conveying the generated data to said active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus; and retaining input focus with said active application.

The present invention provides advantages in that when the on-screen keyboard is used to enter data text into an active application, the active application does not flicker or close its open menus. This is achieved by inhibiting input focus from changing to the on-screen keyboard when it is touched. Also, since input focus

-6-does not change, text insertion points in active applications are not lost when the on-screen keyboard is used to enter data into the active application.

Brief Description Of The Drawings An embodiment of the present invention will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic view of an interactive display system including an electronic writeboard having a touch sensitive panel;

Figure 2 is a front view of the touch sensitive panel of Figure 1 on which an active application and an on-screen keyboard in accordance with the present invention are projected; and Figure 3 is a flow chart illustrating the steps performed by the electronic writeboard when the on-screen keyboard is used to enter data into an active application.

Detailed Description Of The Preferred Embodiment Referring now to Figure 1, an interactive display system is shown and is generally indicated to by reference numeral 10. As can be seen, interactive display system 10 includes an electronic writeboard 12 (EWB) of the type manufactured by SMART Technologies Inc. under model No. SB360 and sold under the name SMART
Board. The SMART Board 12 includes a touch sensitive panel 14 and a tool tray accommodating a plurality of tools 18 and having at least one user selectable button 19. The tools 18 include a number of colored pens and an eraser. A controller having memory is installed in a slot of a personal computer 26 and executes a controller application to control the overall operation of the SMART Board 12.
A
driver in the form of an application is executed by the personal computer 26 and translates serial data from the controller 28 into events such as mouse events, tool change events and button press events.

The personal computer 26 is connected to a liquid crystal display panel 30 positioned on an overhead projector 32 so that the screen image presented on the

-7-=
monitor of the personal computer is projected onto the touch sensitive panel 14. As will be appreciated, the touch sensitive pane I can be placed in front of a rear projection system.
The SMART Board 12 can operate either in a projection mode or in a non-projection mode. As mentioned previously, in the projection mode, screen images generated by the personal computer 26 are projected onto the touch sensitive panel 14 and the SMART Board 12 functions as a giant mouse. The touch sensitive panel 14 is mapped onto the drawing area of the running application so that writing and erasing on the touch sensitive panel 14 is stored as a computerized image and projected onto the touch sensitive panel.

When the electronic writeboard 12 and the personal computer 26 are connected and initialized, the electronic writeboard driver registers with the writeboard applications software executed by the personal computer. During this registration process, the driver determines the messages to which the applications software responds. Once the registration prccess has been completed, events generated by the SMART Board 12 as a result of user contact with the touch sensitive panel, selection of a tool, pressing of a buttoil etc. are sent to the application software.

If the application software is not "aware" of the SMART Board 12 such as Microsoft NetMeeting i.e. the applications software does not use the SMART
Board SDK source code, the personal compL.ter 26 executes Aware interface software to interface the SMART Board 12 and the afplications software.

In the preferred embodiment, the personal computer 26 runs a Windows 95 platform and executes a variety of applications programs. In the projection mode, touching the touch sensitiv,,- panel results in mouse events being generated and processed by the personal corriputer. To allow a user to enter text data into an active application executed by the personal computer without having to use the

-8-keyboard of the personal computer 26, the controller 28 executes a keyboard application so that an on-screen keyboard 40 is presented within a window on the touch sensitive panel 14 (see Figure 2). As can be seen, the on-screen keyboard 40 includes a plurality of selectable keys 42 and in this embodiment is based on a "QWERTY" layout.

Unlike conventional prior art on-screen keyboards, the on-screen keyboard 40 in accordance with the present invention allows a user to enter data into an active application by touching the on-screen keyboard without input focus changing to the on-screen keyboard even though the personal computer 26 runs a Windows platform. To achieve this, the driver and the controller 28 invoke a private communication mechanism so that mouse events generated as a result of contact with the touch sensitive panel 14 within the on-screen keyboard window are sent directly to the controller 28 instead of being routed through Windows .
In this manner, the code in Windows responsible for the automatic activation and de-activation of applications in response to mouse events is bypassed. Thus, the controller 28 is able to process on-screen keyboard events without input focus changing. As a result, the problems associated with prior art on-screen keyboards described previously are overcome. Further specifics of the private communication mechanism established between the driver and the controller 28 will now be described with particular reference to Figure 3.

In operation, when the SMART Board 12 is initiated, the controller 28 registers the on-screen keyboard 40 with the driver by submitting two pieces of information to the driver. The first piece of information is the window handle of the keyboard window which includes its position on the touch sensitive panel 14.
The second piece of information is a set of message identifiers and flags which allows the driver to communicate with the keyboard application executed by the controller 28.
Once the controller 28 has registered with the driver, when a user contacts the touch sensitive panel 14 and a mouse event is generated (block 48), the driver checks to see if the mouse down event occurred within the keyboard window (block 50). If the mouse down event occurred outside of the keyboard window, the

-9-driver simply sends the mouse event to Windows (block 52). Windows in turn handles the mouse down event in the conventional manner and the driver awaits the next mouse event.

If the mouse down event occurs within the keyboard window, the driver notifies the controller 28 of the mouse down event using the set of message identifiers and flags. The driver also sets a second flag so that all subsequent mouse events are sent to the keyboard application until a mouse up event is detected. When the controller 28 receives the identifiers and flags which represent the key selected by the user, the keyboard application proceeds to process the mouse down event and sends the selected key data to the active application with input focus. The text corresponding to the activated key 42 of on-screen keyboard is therefore, entered into the active application (blocks 54 and 56).
If a mouse move event or a mouse up event is generated, the driver checks to see if the flag was set to determine whether the event should be sent to the controller 28. If the flag is set, the mouse move or mouse up event is sent to the keyboard application for processing. If the flag is not set, the mouse event is sent to Windows .
This process is repeated for each mouse down event so that mouse events occurring within the keyboard window bypass Windows and thereby inhibit input focus changing from the active application to the on-screen keyboard 40.

Source code for the driver and controller to perform the above-described operation is set out in Appendix A.

It is possible for the on-screen keyboard 40 to become active and gain input focus through use of an Alt-Tab hotkey sequence or through the WindowsOO

Task Manager. If the on-screen keyboard 40 becomes active, the controller 28 automatically notifies Windows to switch input focus to the next application in the Windows task list. In this manner, if input focus is inadvertently switched to the on-screen keyboard 40, it is quickly switched to another application.

-10-As will be appreciated, the present invention allows an on-screen keyboard to be used to enter text into an active application while avoiding the problems associated with prior art on-screen keyboards.

Although the electronic writeboard 12 has been described as a SMART
Board including a tool tray with colored pens and an eraser, those of skill in the art will appreciate that the on-screen keyboard can be used with other electronic writeboards which use software tool panels allowing a user to select a tool.
Also, although a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described, those of skill in the art will appreciate that variations and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope thereof as defined by the appended claims.

-11-APPENDIX A
KEYBOARD APPLICATION

STRUCTURE registrationBlock {
WORD messageType;
WORD downMessage;
WORD upMessage;
WORD moveMessage;
WINDOW windowHandle;
};

WINDOW
smartBoardDriverWindow=FindWindow(driver_class_name,driver_title);
if (EXISTS(smartBoardDriverWindow)) {
//create a block of data that we use to pass information to the driver registrationBlock myBlock;
//The driver asks as what messages we would like to receive for the various //mouse movement events.
myB lock.messageType=REGISTER_MOUSE;
myB lock. downMessage=DOWN_MES SAGE;
myBlock.upMessage=UP_MESSAGE;
myBlock.moveMessage=MOVE_MESSAGE;
myB lock.windowHandle=mainWindowHandle;

//Use a special windows message called COPYDATA to send a block //of information to the driver S endMes s age(smartB o ardDriverW indow, WM_C OPYDATA, &myB lock);
}

OnDownMessage(POSITION pos,FLAGS flags) {
savedbutton=GetButtonFromPosition(pos);
if (savedbutton!=0) {
savebutton. drawpusheddown();
}
}
OnMoveMessage(POSITION pos,FLAGS flags) {
//No button was pressed, so ignore moves.

-12-APPENDIX A (CON'T) if (savedbutton=0) return;
BUTTON newbutton=GetButtonFromPosition(pos);
if (newbuton!=savedbutton) {
//move button up if mouse moves of it newbutton.Drawunpushedbutton();
return;
}
else {
newbutton.Drawpushedbutton();
}
}
OnUpMessage(POSITION pos) {
//No button was pressed, so ignore the up if (savedbutton=0) return;
if (GetButtonFromPosition(pos)!=savedButton) return;
savedbutton.Drawunpushedbutton();
savedbutton.SendKeyPressToWindowsQ;
savedbutton=0;
}

BOARD DRIVER APPLICATION

void HandleBoardRegisrationBlock(registrationBlock theBlock) {
//When we get the block from the keyboard asking for us to register it to get //mouse events directly //we store it in a list of these blocks so that many applications can use this //approach if needed.
listOfRegisteredB locks.AddToEnd(theBlock);
}

//This function is called when the board driver is about to send a mouse //down to the system.
void HandleMouseDownEvent(POSITION pos,FLAGS flags)

-13-APPENDIX A (CON'T) {
//What window are we pushing on.
WINDOW PressedOn=WIndowFromPoint(pos);
//is it one of our registered windows?
for (INTEGER i=0;i<listOfRegisteredBlocks.GetNumberOfBlocks();i++) {
registrationBlock block=listOfRegisteredBlocks. GetBlockBylndex(i);
if (block.windowHandle=PressedOn) {
//Press was on the registered window. Send it the message SendMessage(RegisteredWindow,block. downMessage, flags,pos);
//save the handle so that all events until the up event can go to //the same place.
blockForSubsequentEvents=block;
return;
}
}
//The window we are clicking on is not one of our registered windows, so //send the events directly to the operating system blockForSubsequentEvents=0;
SendMessageToSystem(WM_LBUTTONDOWN,flags,pos);
}

void HandleMouseMoveEvent(POSITION pos,FLAGS flags) {
//If we sent the down event to a special window all subsequent events must go //there too if (blockForSubsequentEvents!=0) {
//Press was on the registered window. Send it the message SendMessage(blockForSubsequentEvents.windowHandle, blockForSubsequentEvents. downMessage,flags,po s);
}
else {
SendMessageToSystem(WM_MOUSEMOVE,flags,pos);
}
}
void HandleMouseUpEvent(POSITION pos,FLAGS flags)

-14-APPENDIX A (CON'T) {
//If we sent the down event to a special window all subsequent events must go //there too if (blockForSubsequentEvents!=0) {
//Press was on the registered window. Send it the message SendMessage(blockForSubsequentEvents.windowHandle, blockForSubsequentEvents.upMessage,flags,pos);
}
else {
SendMessageToSystem(WM_LBUTTONUP,flags,pos);
}
blockForSubsequentEvents=0;
//reset it. It will be initialized again on the next button down.
}

Claims (108)

What is claimed is:
1. An electronic writeboard for communicating with a computer running on a Windows®-type operating platform, said computer including applications software and running an active application having input focus comprising:
a touch sensitive panel on which screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;
a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said computer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass the computer operating system and thereby avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.
2. An electronic writeboard according to claim 1 wherein said driver passes events generated as a result of user contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said keyboard window directly to said computer for processing.
3. An electronic writeboard according to claim 2 wherein during initialization, said controller registers with said driver and provides a keyboard window handle establishing the location of said keyboard window on said touch sensitive panel and a set of message identifiers to allow said driver to communicate with said keyboard application.
4. An electronic writeboard according to claim 3 wherein said driver uses said message identifiers to generate a message to said keyboard application in response to a mouse down event resulting from user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window, said driver setting a flag so that subsequent mouse events result in the generation of messages to said keyboard application until a mouse up event is detected.
5. An electronic writeboard according to any one of the claims 1 to 4 wherein said keyboard application signals said computer to switch input focus automatically to another application if input focus is given to said keyboard application.
6. An electronic writeboard according to claim 5 wherein input focus is switched automatically to the next application in the Windows® task list.
7. An interactive display system comprising:
an electronic writeboard;

a computer running on a Windows®-based operating platform connected to said electronic writeboard, said computer including applications software and running an active application having input focus; and a projector coupled to said computer and projecting screen image output of said computer onto said electronic writeboard, wherein said electronic writeboard includes:

a touch sensitive panel on which the screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;

a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said computer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass the computer operating system and thereby avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.
8. An interactive display system according to claim 7 wherein said driver passes events generated as a result of user contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said keyboard window directly to said computer for processing.
9. An interactive display system according to claim 8 wherein during initialization, said controller registers with said driver and provides a keyboard window handle establishing the location of said keyboard window on said touch sensitive panel and a set of message identifiers to allow said driver to communicate with said keyboard application.
10. An interactive display system according to claim 9 wherein said driver uses said message identifiers to generate a message to said keyboard application in response to a mouse down event resulting from user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window, said driver setting a flag so that subsequent mouse events result in the generation of messages to said keyboard application until a mouse up event is detected.
11. An interactive display system according to any one of claims 7 to 10 wherein said keyboard application signals said computer to switch input focus automatically to another application if input focus is given to said keyboard application.
12. An interactive display system according to claim 11 wherein input focus is switched automatically to the next application in the Windows®
task list.
13. In an electronic writeboard having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, where user contact on said touch sensitive panel results in the generation of mouse events conveyed to a computer running on a Windows®-based operating system for processing, a method of inhibiting input focus from being switched from an active application executed by said computer to said on-screen keyboard when said on-screen keyboard is touched, said method comprising the steps of:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window directly to said operating system for processing; and processing events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window and forwarding said processed events directly to said active application thereby to bypass said Windows®-based operating system and inhibit a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.
14. The method of claim 13 further comprising the step of automatically shifting input focus to another application if input focus is given to said on-screen keyboard.
15. A computer readable medium embodying a computer program for controlling the display of images, said computer program comprising:
computer program code for displaying on a touch sensitive display screen within a window, a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;

computer program code for sensing contact on the touch sensitive display screen within the keyboard window and generating events corresponding to keys contacted by a user; and computer program code for processing the events and sending data to the active application being run by the processor without shifting input focus to the on-screen keyboard application as a result of contacts on said touch sensitive display within said keyboard window.
16. The computer readable medium of claim 15 wherein said computer program code for sensing contacts sends events generated in response to contact on the touch sensitive display outside of the keyboard window to said processor without said events being processed by said computer program code for processing.
17. The computer readable medium of claim 16 further comprising computer program code for shifting automatically input focus to another application if input focus is given to said on-screen keyboard application.
18. In a computer running on a Windows®-type platform having code responsible for the automatic activation and deactivation of an application in response to mouse events and executing an active application having input focus, a method of inputting data to the active application via a touch sensitive on-screen application displayed within a window while inhibiting input focus from being switched to said on-screen application as result of contacts within said window, said method comprising the steps of:

detecting user contact on said on-screen application within said window and generating events corresponding to said user contact; and conveying data directly to the active application corresponding to the events thereby to bypass said code.
19. The method of claim 18 further comprising the step of shifting input focus automatically to another application if input focus is given to said on-screen application.
20. Apparatus for controlling the display of images comprising:
a large screen display uncoupled from a projector, which displays a computer-generated image, and which outputs a location signal corresponding to a location on the large-screen display where contact is made; and a computer running at least one application program on a Windows®
operating system, said computer further running an interrupt routine, the interrupt routine generating a mouse event in response to said location signal and additionally causing the application program to modify the computer-generated image in response to the mouse event, said computer still further running an on-screen keyboard application, said on-screen keyboard application causing the computer to display as part of the computer-generated image an on-screen keyboard within a window, said on-screen keyboard application detecting and processing mouse commands generated as a result of user contact on said large-screen display within said window and conveying data to an active application program run by said computer while bypassing the Windows® operating system.
21. Apparatus according to claim 20 wherein said on-screen keyboard application software causes said computer to shift automatically input focus to another application if input focus is given to said on-screen keyboard application software.
22. Apparatus according to claim 21 wherein said on-screen keyboard has a QWERTY layout.
23. Apparatus according to any of claims 20 to 22, wherein said large-screen display comprises a touch sensitive screen.
24. Apparatus according to any and claims 20 to 23, further comprising the image projector which comprises:
an LCD projector coupled to the computer; and an overhead projector adjacent said LCD projector.
25. A method for controlling the display of images projected through a projector and generated by a computer running application programs on a Windows®
operating system, comprising the steps of:

displaying the computer-generated image on a large-screen display uncoupled from the projector, the computer-generated image in part including an on-screen keyboard within a keyboard window;

outputting a location signal corresponding to a location on the large-screen display where contact is made;

running an interrupt routine on the Windows® operating system of the computer, the interrupt routine generating a mouse event in response to said location signal; and causing the application program to modify the computer-generated image in response to the mouse event, the computer-generated image being modified at the location on the large-screen display corresponding to the location where contact is made, wherein mouse events generated in response to contacts made on the large-screen display within the keyboard window are processed via a private communication mechanism so that data corresponding to the mouse events is sent to the active application program being run by the computer without being routed through the Windows® operating system.
26. A computer readable medium embodying a computer program for controlling the display of images projected through a projector and generated by a computer running application programs on a Windows® operating system, the computer program comprising:
computer program code for generating display signals for displaying a computer-generated image on a large-screen display uncoupled from the projector;
computer program code for, in response to receiving a location signal corresponding to a location on the large-screen display where a contact is made, running an interrupt routine on the Windows® operating system of the computer, the interrupt routine generating a mouse event in response to said location signal; and computer program code for causing an application program running on the computer to modify the computer-generated image in response to the mouse event, the computer-generated image modified at the location on the large-screen display corresponding to the location contact is made, wherein mouse events generated in response to contacts made on the large-screen display within the keyboard window are processed via a private communications mechanism so that data corresponding to the mouse events is sent to the active application program being run by the computer without being routed through the Windows® operating system.
27. An electronic writeboard for communicating with a computer running on a multitasking operating platform, said computer executing an active application having input focus comprising:
a touch sensitive panel on which screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;
a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said computer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass code of said operating platform responsible for shifting input focus thereby to avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.
28. An electronic writeboard according to claim 27 wherein said driver passes events generated as a result of user contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said keyboard window directly to said computer for processing.
29. An electronic writeboard according to claim 28 wherein during initialization, said controller registers with said driver and provides a keyboard window handle establishing the location of said keyboard window on said touch sensitive panel and a set of message identifiers to allow said driver to communicate with said keyboard application.
30. An electronic writeboard according to claim 29 wherein said driver uses said message identifiers to generate a message to said keyboard application in response to a mouse down event resulting from user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window, said driver setting a flag so that subsequent mouse events result in the generation of messages to said keyboard application until a mouse up event is detected.
31. An electronic writeboard according to any one of claims 27 to 30 wherein said keyboard application signals said computer to switch input focus automatically to another application if input focus is given to said keyboard application.
32. An interactive display system comprising:
an electronic writeboard;
a computer running on a multitasking operating platform connected to said electronic writeboard, said computer executing an active application having input focus; and a projector coupled to said computer and projecting screen image output of said computer onto said electronic writeboard, wherein said electronic writeboard includes:
a touch sensitive panel on which the screen image output of said computer is displayed, said touch sensitive panel being responsive to user contact and generating events;

a keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel and including a keyboard having a plurality of user selectable keys;
a driver receiving events generated by said touch sensitive panel, said driver sensing user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window and generating messages in response to user selection of keys of said keyboard; and a controller executing a keyboard application and receiving said messages, said keyboard application processing said messages to provide data directly to the active application running on said computer corresponding to keys of said keyboard contacted by said user to bypass code of said operating platform responsible for shifting input focus thereby to avoid input focus shifting to said keyboard application in response to user contacts on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window.
33. An interactive display system according to claim 32 wherein said driver passes events generated as a result of user contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said keyboard window directly to said computer for processing.
34. An interactive display system according to claim 33 wherein during initialization, said controller registers with said driver and provides a keyboard window handle establishing the location of said keyboard window on said touch sensitive panel and a set of message identifiers to allow said driver to communicate with said keyboard application.
35. An interactive display system according to claim 34 wherein said driver uses said message identifiers to generate a message to said keyboard application in response to a mouse down event resulting from user contact on said touch sensitive panel within said keyboard window, said driver setting a flag so that subsequent mouse events result in the generation of messages to said keyboard application until a mouse up event is detected.
36. An interactive display system according to any one of claims 32 to 35 wherein said keyboard application signals said computer to switch input focus automatically to another application if input focus is given to said keyboard application.
37. In a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, where user contact on said touch sensitive panel results in the generation of mouse events conveyed to a computer running on a multitasking operating system, a method of inhibiting input focus from being switched from an active application executed by said computer to said on-screen keyboard when said on-screen keyboard is touched, said method comprising the steps of:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;

forwarding events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said operating system for processing; and processing events generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window and forwarding said processed events to said active application to bypass code of said operating system responsible for shifting input focus and thereby inhibit a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.
38. The method of claim 37 further comprising the step of automatically shifting input focus to another application if input focus is given to said on-screen keyboard.
39. A computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;

a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein user input generated in response to user contact within said keyboard window is forwarded to said active application by said keyboard application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to inhibit input focus shifting to said keyboard application.
40. The device of claim 39 wherein the user input received by said active application is displayed in said active application window.
41. The device of claim 40 wherein said keyboard window includes a plurality of user selectable keys.
42. The device of claim 41 wherein said keyboard window registers with said keyboard application.
43. The device of any one of claims 39 to 42 wherein said keyboard application automatically shifts input focus to another application should input focus be given to said keyboard application.
44. The device of claim 43 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
45. The device of claim 44 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
46. A computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;

a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein user input generated in response to user contact within said keyboard window is forwarded to said active application by said keyboard application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus, said active application retaining said input focus during generation and receiving of said user input.
47. The device of claim 46 wherein the user input received by said active application is displayed in said active application window.
48. The device of claim 47 wherein said keyboard window includes a plurality of user selectable keys.
49. The device of claim 48 wherein said keyboard window registers with said keyboard application.
50. The device of any one of claims 46 to 49 wherein said keyboard application automatically shifts input focus to another application should input focus be given to said keyboard application.
51. The device of claim 50 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
52. The device of claim 51 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
53. In a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing; and forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to avoid a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.
54. The method of claim 53 further comprising displaying the data forwarded to said active application within an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel.
55. The method of claim 53 or 54 wherein said displayed data is textual data.
56. The method of claim 55 further comprising registering said keyboard window with said computing device.
57. The method of any one of claims 53 to 56 further comprising shifting input focus automatically to another application should input focus be given to said keyboard window.
58. The method of claim 57 further comprising selecting the other application from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
59. In a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing;

forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application; and retaining input focus with said active application at least during generating and forwarding of data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window, wherein said on-screen keyboard forwards user input to said active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus.
60. The method of claim 59 further comprising displaying the data forwarded to said active application within an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel.
61. The method of claim 59 or 60 wherein said displayed data is textual data.
62. The method of claim 61 further comprising registering said on-screen keyboard with said computing device.
63. The method of any one of claims 59 to 62 further comprising shifting input focus automatically to another application should input focus be given to said on-screen keyboard.
64. The method of claim 63 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
65. The method of claim 64 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
66. In computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and executing an active application having input focus, a method of inputting data to the active application via a user input application, said active application and user input application being displayed within respective windows on a touch sensitive panel, said method comprising:

detecting user contact within the window of said user input application and generating data corresponding to said user contact;

conveying the generated data to said active application; and retaining input focus with said active application, wherein during said conveying said user input application forwards the generated data to said active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus.
67. The method of claim 66 further comprising displaying the data forwarded to said active application within its respective window.
68. The method of claim 66 or 76 wherein said displayed data is textual data.
69. The method of claim 68 further comprising registering the user input application with its respective window.
70. The method of any one of claims 66 to 69 further comprising shifting input focus automatically to another application should input focus be given to said user input application.
71. The method of claim 70 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
72. The method of claim 71 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
73. The method of any one of claims 66 to 72 wherein said user input application includes a plurality of user selectable keys.
74. A computing device, comprising:
a user input device;
a display configured to detect said user input device; and a processor displaying an application window corresponding to an active application having input focus of said computing device, displaying a user input window corresponding to a user input application while said application window is displayed, said user input window including a plurality of onscreen keys corresponding at least to textual characters and receiving user input on said display, said user input being located within said user input window, wherein said user input application forwards user input to said active application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus and wherein said application window retains input focus after user input is received.
75. The device of claim 74, wherein said user input application transmits textual data corresponding to said user input to said active application.
76. A computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;
a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein user input generated in response to user contact within said keyboard window is forwarded to said active application by said keyboard application without invoking code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to treat the user input as if said user input was generated by a physical input device.
77. The device of claim 76 wherein the user input received by said active application is displayed in said active application window.
78. The device of claim 77 wherein said keyboard window includes a plurality of user selectable keys.
79. The device of claim 78 wherein said keyboard window registers with said keyboard application.
80. The device of any one of claims 76 to 79 wherein said keyboard application automatically shifts input focus to another application should input focus be given to said keyboard application.
81. The device of claim 80 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
82. A computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application configured to inhibit said keyboard application from gaining and/or maintaining input focus, said computing device comprising:
a touch sensitive panel;

a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein said keyboard application forwards user input to said active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to inhibit input focus shifting to said keyboard application.
83. The device of claim 82 wherein said keyboard window includes a plurality of user selectable keys.
84. The device of claim 82 wherein said keyboard application automatically shifts input focus to another application should input focus be given to said keyboard application.
85. The device of claim 84 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
86. The device of claim 85 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
87. A computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and including an active application having input focus and a user input keyboard application configured to inhibit said keyboard from gaining and/or maintaining input focus, said computing device comprising:

a touch sensitive panel;

a user input keyboard window displayed on said touch sensitive panel;
and an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel, wherein said keyboard application forwards user input to said active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus so that said active application retains said input focus during generation and receiving of said user input.
88. The device of claim 87 wherein said keyboard window includes a plurality of user selectable keys.
89. The device of claim 87 wherein said keyboard application automatically shifts input focus to another application should input focus be given to said keyboard application.
90. The device of claim 89 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
91. The device of claim 90 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
92. In a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window, and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:
detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing; and forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus thereby to inhibit a shift in input focus from said active application to said on-screen keyboard.
93. The method of claim 92 further comprising displaying the data forwarded to said active application within an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel.
94. The method of claim 93 wherein said displayed data is textual data.
95. The method of claim 92 further comprising shifting input focus automatically to another application should input focus be given to said keyboard window.
96. The method of claim 95 further comprising selecting the other application from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
97. In a computing device having a touch sensitive panel on which an on-screen keyboard is displayed within a window and running on a multitasking operating platform, a method of managing data input comprising:

detecting user contact on said touch sensitive panel;
forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel outside of said on-screen keyboard window to said computing device for processing;

forwarding data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window to an active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus; and retaining input focus with said active application at least during generating and forwarding of data generated in response to contact on said touch sensitive panel within said on-screen keyboard window.
98. The method of claim 97 further comprising displaying the data forwarded to said active application within an active application window displayed on said touch sensitive panel.
99. The method of claim 98 wherein said displayed data is textual data.
100. The method of claim 97 further comprising shifting input focus automatically to another application should input focus be given to said on-screen keyboard.
101. The method of claim 100 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
102. The method of claim 101 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
103. In computing device running on a multitasking operating platform and executing an active application having input focus, a method of inputting data to the active application via a user input application, said active application and user input application being displayed within respective windows on a touch sensitive panel, said method comprising:
detecting user contact within the window of said user input application and generating data corresponding to said user contact;
conveying the generated data to said active application while bypassing code of said operating platform responsible for handling mouse events and switching input focus; and retaining input focus with said active application.
104. The method of claim 103 further comprising displaying the data forwarded to said active application within its respective window.
105. The method of claim 104 wherein said displayed data is textual data.
106. The method of claim 103 further comprising shifting input focus automatically to another application should input focus be given to said user input application.
107. The method of claim 106 wherein said another application is selected from a task list of said multitasking operating platform.
108. The method of claim 107 wherein the another application is the next application in said task list.
CA 2252302 1998-10-30 1998-10-30 Keyboard for an electronic writeboard and method Expired - Lifetime CA2252302C (en)

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