GB2356720A - Entering information into a computer system - Google Patents

Entering information into a computer system Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2356720A
GB2356720A GB0028695A GB0028695A GB2356720A GB 2356720 A GB2356720 A GB 2356720A GB 0028695 A GB0028695 A GB 0028695A GB 0028695 A GB0028695 A GB 0028695A GB 2356720 A GB2356720 A GB 2356720A
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GB
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
means
pointer
computer system
keypad
pointer means
Prior art date
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.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB0028695A
Other versions
GB0028695D0 (en )
Inventor
Adrian Pariser
Martin Henry Link
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
* BETLINK Ltd
BETLINK Ltd
Original Assignee
BETLINK LTD
Priority date (The priority date 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 date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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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
    • G06F3/03Arrangements for converting the position or the displacement of a member into a coded form
    • G06F3/033Pointing devices displaced or positioned by the user, e.g. mice, trackballs, pens or joysticks; Accessories therefor
    • G06F3/038Control and interface arrangements therefor, e.g. drivers or device-embedded control circuitry
    • 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
    • G06F2203/00Indexing scheme relating to G06F3/00 - G06F3/048
    • G06F2203/038Indexing scheme relating to G06F3/038
    • G06F2203/0382Plural input, i.e. interface arrangements in which a plurality of input device of the same type are in communication with a PC

Description

2356720 APPARATUS FOR ENTERING IWORMATION INTO A COMPUTER SYSTEM The

present invention relates to an apparatus for entering information into a computer system. Computer systems are used in many industries, including the retail industry and means must be provided to enter the relevant information into the computer system. 10 Particular problems arise in a system in which the operative using the system has to carry out many different operations, the system has many different operatives, the operatives may move from terminal to terminal, and it would be preferable if the operations which are to be keyed into the computer system can be readily changed. 15 A particular problem is to keep track of which operatives are entering information in which terminal. To give concrete examples of the problems which arise we refer firstly to a Post 20 Office with a number of counter staff (operatives). The Post Office provides a large number of counter services, for example, the issue of licences for television or vehicles, payments made through Giro as well as the issue of stamps. Whilst some of these operations have been rendered more efficient by the use of a keyboard to enter the relevant information, it requires substantial keyboard skills and the keyboard of 25 conventional type C'qwerC' keyboard) is slow and time consuming. For each successive customer, it is likely that a different service will be required and so it is initially necessary to select the desired service before information can be inserted. Furthermore it is necessary for the operative to log onto a particular terminal because it is desirable for the service provided to the customer to be accredited to a particular 30 operative and this means that effectively the operative is tied to a single terminal for a period of time.

2 Similar problems arise in a restaurant where there is a selection of a large number of items on a menu, and it is desirable to be able to readily enter for a particular customer a particularly combination of menu items and for that combination of menu items to be attributed to a particular waiter.

Similar problems arise in a betting organisation where bets are telephoned in to the organisation, and the bets may relate to a wide variety of events. Different events win correspond to the different services described in relation to the Post Office example above, and once again differant operatives may work at different positions at different times and it is desirable to be able to identify the operative who enters a particular bet into the system.

Similar problems arise in banks, where a multitude of different functions may be carried out by the bank operatives both in their immediate dealings with the public in a bank branch or in a call centre where telephone banking is carried out.

The present invention relates to the above problems.

In a preferred arrangement of the invention there is provided a "keyboard" of a type with a large number of keys, labelled for particular operations, which are operated by means of a pointer ("pen") which has a characteristic which is recognised by the keyboard (for example, provides a unique identifying signal) which identifies the pointer, and the particular pointer may thereby be used to identify the operative.

The present invention provides a computer system comprising: - a keypad operated by a pointer means, the pointer means including means to uniquely identify itself, a display, the keypad including means to change the information displayed on the display in accordance with the position of the pointer means with respect to the keypad, 3 the computer system including means to pass signals to a computer, and the computer including means to identify the particular pointer means, and means to identify which key has been selected, whereby to initiate an operation in the computer system.

The display and the keypad may be separate or the keypad may provide the display.

The pointer means may be the operatives finger but preferably comprises hand held pointer which may be a penshaped object which may be touched on or moved close to the keypad, the pointer means including means to provide an identifying signal which identifies the particular pointer means.

The pointer means may also include means whereby to pass a signal to the keyboard which indicates the pressure being applied to the pointer means, and the direction or orientation of the pointer means with respect to the keypad.

The keypad may comprise a screen to the front of which is removably attached a sheet carrying markings delineating the keys, the screen including means whereby to 0 identify the position (eg in the x-y direction) across the screen at which the pointer means touches the sheet.

A normal keyboard will not generally be suitable for such an arrangement as it does not have enough keys and we provide the electronic keyboard in the form of an Miput pad of the type where touching by pointer means or finger (or otherwise) at a particular point across the screen provides a unique signal. That unique signal may be provided by resistive connections horizontally across the pad and resistive connections vertically across the pad or by such other means. Such pads enable one to provide, effectively, a larger number of keys than are provided by a standard keypad, the keys being defined by markings on a removable sheet on the front of the pad with the relevant information marked on the key.

4 The present invention also provides a method of identifying an operative entering information into a computer system, which computer system comprises a keypad operated by a pointer means, the pointer means including means to uniquely identify itself, a display, the keypad including means to change the information displayed on the display in accordance with the position of the pointer means with respect to the keypad, the method comprising:

providing each operative with a unique pointer means, whereby each operative may use a keypad to initiate an operation of the computer system, the computer storing information relating tQ- the operation initiated together with the identity of the operative initiating that operation.

Preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure I is a front view of the keypad, Figure 2 is a diagrammatic schematic of the apparatus. Referring to the Figure 1, there is shown the front view of an electronic pad I OA (or 20 tablet) of the type used in CAD systems (Computer Aided Drawing systems) in which pressure by, for example, a suitable pointer means across the surface of the pad IOA can be tracked by a computer system. The pad IOA (sometimes referred to as a "tablet") may be a tablet manufactured by WACOM, for example, in their NTUOS range of graphics tablet, details of which may be obtained on the website, 25 vr%yw.wacom.com. Behind the pad IOA there may be provided suitable resist structure so that the position of the pointer when in contact with the pad IOA is known in the X-Y direction by measuring the resistance, for example, between the left hand edge of the pad IOA and 30 the pointer, and in the Y direction by measuring, for example, the resistance between the lower edge of the pad 10A and the pointer. Other systems may be used, for example, involving capacitance.

Such pads are well known. However, whereas they are normally used in CAD (computer aided drawing) environments in combination with a computer and computer screen in which movement of the pointer across the pad causes, for example, a cursor to move across the screen of an associated computer and with other operations allows drawings to be produced, in the present instance we provide a replaceable sheet 11 A of plattics material covering the pad I OA on which sheet are printed a plurality of keys/symbols. By touching with the pointer particular symbols on the sheet I I A, a signal may be provided (which is in fact the X-Y position of the pointer) which the computer system can recognise as being an input for a command which is printed on the sheet at that particular point.

Thus, as will be seen, the sheet includes a number of rectangles which define the keys and which carry symbols relating to the operation which the key relates to and touching the pointer means on the relevant rectangle or key win input a signal which causes the computer to carry out an operation which relates to the printed symbol on that rectangle.

The blank rectangles are the equivalent of 'Keys' on a standard keyboard. However their function would be determined by the company using the system, eg in the case of a Post Office, 'Benefit Payment L50', 'Gas Payment L20', etc.

Different coloured areas of rectangles relate to differing transaction types, eg 'Payment In', 'Payment Out', 'Product Sales', etc. they could relate to the transactions of a particular client of the company.

As is clear from Figure 2, the pad I OA illustrated is connected by a link, either a cable 13A or radio or infra-red link with a computer 14 which controls the system, the computer being provided with a screen 15 so that the manager of the system may be 6 able to track events, and a further -screen 16A is provide adjacent the operative of the pad I OA.

There are also provided for another operative at, for example, a different location, a respective pad 10B, sheet I 1B, cable 13B and local screen 16B.

We also illustrate a further pointer 12B which may be held by another operative.

In a Post Office environineig where there are several counters or positions for the counter staff, one position may have one pad I OA and a screen 16A, and another position pad 10B and screen 16B. The counter staff are each issued with their own personal pointers 12A, 12B, 12C, and the computer system 14 is provided with the information connecting the particular counter staff with a particular pointer means.

The particular screens I IA, I IB, etc, are all identical and may comprise, for example, fourteen columns and seventeen rows to provide a total of 238 rectangles which will be referred to as "keye'. The rectangles on each sheet may include wording corresponding to a particular function.

Different operations relating to the same function may be grouped together on the screen.

The apparatus thus far described may be used as follows.

When the operative touches a particular rectangle with the pointer, the pad 10 1 passes a signal down cable 102 to the computer 103. This signal has a number of components. The signal is digital and includes information regarding the position of the pointer in the X and Y direction across the screen of the pad 101. The signal also includes information regarding the identify of the pointer (each pointer includes a 30 separate identity and includes digital signal means for passing a respective unique digital signal to the pointer 101 when it touches the screen) and a signal regarding the 7 pressure which is actually applied by the pointer to the pad and the orientation of the pointer with respect to the vertical a)ds which gives some indication of the way in which the pointer will be moved.

In order to identify which rectangle (key) is being touched by a particular pointer 12A, the computer 14 carried out the following steps:Step 1. The identity of the pointer is checked. (This means that false entries cannot be made.) 10 Step 2. The X position of the pointer (this will indicate which of the columns of keys is referenced). Step 3. The Y position of the pointer (this will indicate which of the rows of keys is 15 referenced). Step 4. From the combination of row and column, the key is identified. Step 5. As a result, the central computer passes a message containing relevant 20 information to the screen 16A. Step 6. The information is sent to a database. A particular member of the counter staff may work at any of the terminals. 25 Thus assume that a particular member of counter staff having a pointer means 12A logged to him/her is to operate a terminal comprising the pad I OA. The first customer approaches and requests a car licence. The sheet I IA comprises a set of rectangles closely linked which include the necessary commands to input the information so that 30 the car licence may be issued. Thus to start the member of counter staff mav touch his pointer on a rectangle (key) entitled "vehicle licence" so that a relevant signal 8 relating to the X-Y position of the key will be passed along cable 13A to the central computer 14 which will indicate to the central computer 14 that a vehicle licence is to be issued.

The computer 14 may provide necessary commands to the screen 16A which can be followed by the counter staff. Thus, for example, the first may be "check/insert vehicle registration number" and this can be done by selecting with the pointer means numbers set out on the pad I OA or on a separate keyboard.

W The next command shown on screen 16A may be "is valid insurance presented?" and the pointer 12A can then be used to touch a rectangle entitled "yes" or "no", as appropriate. The screen 16A may then take the operative through a series of steps the replies to which may be inserted by means of a separate keyboard or by use of the pointer 12A as appropriate.

At the end of the process the screen 16A may indicate to the operative that the licence may be issued and in some cases may actively print the relevant document on a printer.

A similar process may take place for the next customer who may, for example, require a pension payment. An area of the sheet I 1A will include keys relating to pensions and initially the operative will touch the pointer 12A on a rectangle which indicates that a pension is required. Similarly the computer 14 in receiving the information from the pad I OA may then cause the information on the screen 16A to pass through a series of steps enabling the pension to be made when all of the steps have been completed.

It will be understood that such a process enables an operative to operate at any keyboard by simply taking his or her pointer to the relevant keyboard.

9 Furthermore the relevant information is immediately inputted to the central computer 14 which at any one time can keep up to date a database which relates to all of the operations carried out by the Post Office and the identify of the operative who carried out each individual operation.

At the end of the day or at any other time the central computer 14 can provide a printout of all of the relevant information or may pass information to a regional computer.

The computer 14 includes a computer program for controlling the above steps. The computer program may be in the form of digital information provided on a computer readable medium such as a floppy disk, zip drive disk or the like or may be loaded into the computer via a modem in which case the program may be embodied in a suitable wave form. 15 From time to time, the Post Office may change operations which are carried out. In that case, it is simply a matter of changing the relevant sheets 11 and reprogramming the computer 14 to recognise the information on the new sheets. 20 The apparatus may also be used in another environment, for example, in a telephone betting system. Thus in a call centre operated to take telephone bets, there may be provided a number of operatives who will be required to take bets for a number of different events C'wagers"), for example, different horse races at different tracks and on different days, on football matches, on cricket matches, etc. As before, there are 25 positions for more than one operative, one position may have one pad 10A and a screen 16A, and another position pas 10B and screen 16B. The operatives are each issued with their own personal pointers 12A, 12B, 12C and the computer system 14 is provided with the information connecting the particular operatives with a particular pointer means. 10 The rectangles on each sheet may include wording corresponding to a particular function, such as horse race venues, times. etc.

Different operations relating to the same function may be grouped together on the screen.

The apparatus thus far described may be used a follows.

A particular operative may work at any of the terminals. Thus assume that a particular operative having a pointer means 12A logged to him/her is to operate a terminal comprising the pad I OA. The first customer telephones and requests a bet on the 4.3 0 race at Newmarket. The sheet I I A comprises a set of rectangles. Thus to s= the operative may touch his pointer on a rectangle (key) entitled "horse race" so that a relevant signal relating to the X-Y position of the key will be passed along cable 13A to the central computer 14 which will indicate to the central computer 14 that a bet is to be placed on a horse race.

The computer 14 may provide necessary commands to the screen 16A which can be followed b- the counter staff. Thus, for example, the first may be "venue" and this 1 can be done by selecting with the pointer means keys set out on a pad I OA or on a separate keboard.

7 - The next command shown on screen 16A may be "date of race" and the pointer 12A can then be used to touch a re.tangle (key) with the relevant date or enter using number of a keyboard as appropriate. The screen 16A may then take the operative thought a senies of steps, eg horse number, am. ount of bet, type of bet, customer account number, etc, the replies to which may be inserted by means of the separate keyboard or by use of the pointer 12A as appropriate.

7 At the end of the process the screen 16A may indicate to the operative that the bet has been accepted and the relevant data passed to the database.

11 A similar process may take place for the next customer who may, for example, require a bet on a football match. An area of the sheet I I A will include keys relating to football matches and initially the operative will touch the pointer 12A on a rectangle which indicates a particular football match. Similarly the computer 14 in receiving the information from the pad I OA may then cause the information on the screen 16A to pass through a series of steps enabling the bet to be made when all of the steps have been completed.

It will be understood that such a process enables an operative to operate at any keyboard by simply taking his or her pointer to the relevant keyboard.

Furthermore the relevant information is immediately inputted to the central computer 14 which at any one time can keep up to date a database which relates to all of the operations may calculate for example the bookmaker's liability.

At the end of the day or at any other time the central computer 14 can provide a printout of all of the relevant information or may pass information to a regional computer.

From time to time, the bookmaker may change operations which are carried out. In that case, it is simply a matter of changing the relevant sheets I I and reprogramming the computer 14 to recognise the information on the new sheets.

The apparatus may also be used in a bank or building society where there are several counters or positions for the counter staff, one position may have one pad IOA and a screen 16A, and another position pad 10B and screen 16B. The counter staff are each issued with their own personal pointers 12A, 12B, 12C, and the computer system 14 is provided with the information connecting the particular counter staff with a 30 particular pointer means.

12 The particular screens I I A, I I B, etc, are all identical. The rectangles on each sheet may include wording corresponding to a particular function.

Different operations relating to the same function may be grouped together on the screen.

A particular member of the counter staff may work at any of the terminals. Thus assume that a particular member of counter staff having a pointer means 12A logged to him/her is to operate a terminal comprising the pad IOA. The first customer approaches and requests details of their account. The sheet I IA comprises a set of rectangles closely linked which include the necessary commands to input the information so that the information may be assessed. Thus to start the member of counter staff may touch his pointer on a rectangle (key) entitled "account query" so that a relevant signal relating to the X-Y position of the key will be passed along cable 13A to the central computer 14 which will indicate to the central computer 14 that an account is to be queried.

The computer 14 may provide necessary commands to the screen 16A which can be followed by the counter staff Thus, for example, the first may be "insert account number" and this can be done by selecting with the pointer means numbers set out on the pad I OA or on a separate keyboard.

The next command shown on screen 16A may be "check password?" and the pointer 12A can then be used to touch a rectangle entitled "yes" or "no", as appropriate. The screen 16A may then take the operative through a series of steps the replies to which may be inserted by means of a separate keyboard or by use of the pointer 12A as appropriate.

At the end of the process the screen 16A may indicate to the operative the account balance and in some cases may actively print the relevant information on a printer.

13 A similar process may take place for the next customer who may, for example, wish to make a payment. An area of the sheet I IA will include keys relating to payments and initially the operative will touch the pointer 12A on a rectangle which indicates that a payment is required. Similarly the computer 14 in receiving the inforniation from the pad I OA may then cause the information on the screen 16A to pass through a series of steps enabling the payment to be made when all of the steps have been completed.

It will be understood that!wch a process enables an operative to operate at any keyboard by simply taking his or her pointer to the relevant keyboard.

Furthermore the relevant information is immediately inputted to the central computer 14 which at any one time can keep up to date a database which relates to all of the operations carried out by the bank or building society and the identify of the operative who carried out each individual operation.

At the end of the day or at any other time the central computer 14 can provide a printout of all of the relevant information or may pass information to a regional computer.

In the above description, the keypad is a tablet on which may be mounted a plastic sheet with the keys drawn and the information is displayed on a separate screen.

However, in another arrangement, the keypad or tablet can itself comprise a screen so that in this case, the keys are denoted by a grid which is displayed on the screen, and as the keys are selected by means of the pen, the display on the screen can change so as to show a different set of keys or different information. For example, in the example given above, the initial image may have a set of keys which denote a number of basic operations, for example, a key to be selected when a vehicle licence is to be issued, or a key to be selected when a pension is to be paid. In this case the operative initially touches the relevant key on the screen on the keypad, and in the example where the vehicle licence screen is selected, the image on the screen win then change to provide another set of keys and perhaps further infon-nation, the keys relating to the 14 process of issuing a vehicle licence. In fact, during a single operation of providing a vehicle licence, the image on the screen may change several times to provide keys which relate to questions which need to be answered at that particular stage of the operation of issuing a vehicle licence. 5 Different sets of images will be used in other processes, for example, where a pension is to be paid.

The invention is not restrictedto the details of the foregoing examples. 10

Claims (10)

1. A computer system comprising:a keypad operated by a pointer means, 5 the pointer means including means to uniquely identify itselt a display, the keypad including means to change the information displayed on the display in accordance with the position of the pointer means with respect to the keypad, 9d the computer system including means to pass signals to a computer, and the computer including means to identify the particular pointer means, and means to identify which key has been selected, whereby to initiate an operation in the computer system.
2. A computer system as claimed in claim I in which the display and the keypad are separate.
3. A computer system as claimed in claim I in which the keypad provides the display. 20
4. A computer system as claimed in any of claims 1. to 3 in which the pointer means is an operative's finger.
5. A computer system as claimed in any of claims I to 3 in which the pointer 25 means comprises a pen shaped object which may be touched on the keypad, the pointer means including means to provide an identifying signal which identifies the particular pointer means.
6. A computer system as claimed in claim 5 in which the pointer means includes 30 means whereby to pass a signal to the keyboard which indicates the pressure being 16 applied to the pointer means, and the direction or orientation of the pointer means with respect to the keypad
7. A computer system as claimed in any of claims I to 6 in which the keypad comprises a screen to the front of which is removably attached a sheet carrying markings delineating the keys, the screen including means whereby to identify the position across the screen at which the pointer means touches the sheet.
8. A computer system w claimed in claim 7 in which the keyboard comprises means where touching by the pointer means at a particular point across the screen provides a unique signal, and the unique signal is provided by resistive connections horizontally across the keyboard and resistive connections vertically across the keyboard.
9. A computer system as claimed in claim I substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the drawings.
10. A method of identifying an operative entering information into a computer system, which computer system comprises a keypad operated by a pointer means, the pointer means including means to uniquely identify itself, a display, the keypad including means to change the information displayed on the display in accordance with the position of the pointer means with respect to the keypad, the method comprising:
providing each operative with a unique pointer means, whereby each operative may use a keypad to initiate an operation of the computer system, the computer storing information relating to the operation initiated together with the identity of the operative initiating that operation.
GB0028695A 1999-11-25 2000-11-24 Apparatus for entering information into a computer system Withdrawn GB0028695D0 (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB9927892A GB9927892D0 (en) 1999-11-25 1999-11-25 Apparatus for entering information into a computer system

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GB0028695D0 GB0028695D0 (en) 2001-01-10
GB2356720A true true GB2356720A (en) 2001-05-30

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GB0028695A Withdrawn GB0028695D0 (en) 1999-11-25 2000-11-24 Apparatus for entering information into a computer system

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Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5404524A (en) * 1992-04-03 1995-04-04 International Business Machines Corporation System for identifying attached input pointing devices, loading associated software routines, and interacting with anyone input pointing device while disabling the others
US5777615A (en) * 1994-04-15 1998-07-07 International Business Machines Corporation Multiple display pointers for computer graphical user interfaces
JPH1165766A (en) * 1997-08-11 1999-03-09 Kokusai Electric Co Ltd Information data operating function processor and touch pen

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5404524A (en) * 1992-04-03 1995-04-04 International Business Machines Corporation System for identifying attached input pointing devices, loading associated software routines, and interacting with anyone input pointing device while disabling the others
US5777615A (en) * 1994-04-15 1998-07-07 International Business Machines Corporation Multiple display pointers for computer graphical user interfaces
JPH1165766A (en) * 1997-08-11 1999-03-09 Kokusai Electric Co Ltd Information data operating function processor and touch pen

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
GB0028695D0 (en) 2001-01-10 grant
GB9927892D0 (en) 2000-01-26 grant

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