WO1989006600A1 - Computer keyboard software key guide holder - Google Patents

Computer keyboard software key guide holder Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1989006600A1
WO1989006600A1 PCT/US1989/000134 US8900134W WO8906600A1 WO 1989006600 A1 WO1989006600 A1 WO 1989006600A1 US 8900134 W US8900134 W US 8900134W WO 8906600 A1 WO8906600 A1 WO 8906600A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
display member
key guide
software key
elongated
base
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1989/000134
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Ridley C. Ward
Original Assignee
Ward Ridley C
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
Priority to US14505488A priority Critical
Priority to US145,054 priority
Application filed by Ward Ridley C filed Critical Ward Ridley C
Publication of WO1989006600A1 publication Critical patent/WO1989006600A1/en

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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
    • G06F3/02Input arrangements using manually operated switches, e.g. using keyboards or dials
    • G06F3/0202Constructional details or processes of manufacture of the input device
    • G06F3/0224Key guide holders

Abstract

A computer software key guide holder (10) including an elongated display member (26, 54) and retaining means (12, 52) for positioning, indexing and retaining the display member (26, 54) atop a computer keyboard (KB). The display member (26, 54) is adapted to receive and display a plurality of software key guides (KG1, KG2, KG3, KG4, KG5) while the retaining means (12) positions the display member (26) adjacent the keyboard control function keys (CF) such that each software key guide (KG1, KG2, KG3, KG4, KG5), one at a time, may be clearly viewable by a user in alignment and registry with the keyboard control keys (CF). The invention may also include an elongated housing (56) having an opening (90), the housing (56) surrounding the display member (54) and preventing all but one side of the display member (54) and associated key guide (KG1, KG2, KG3, KG4, KG5), to be viewable through the opening (90). Detent means (80, 82) and indexing indicia may also be provided in alternate embodiments.

Description

COMPUTER KEYBOARD SOFTWARE KEY GUIDE HOLDER

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to accessories for computer word processing equipment, and more particularly means for storing and displaying computer software key guides for use in conjunction with the control function keys of the computer keyboard.

With the proliferation of a broad range of computer software programs provided by independent sources in conjunction with modern computer technology comes the problem of dealing with the key guides supplied by each computer software manufacturer to instruct the user in the operation of the software. Modern computer keyboards are provided with a plurality of control function keys which are most popularly oriented in a row positioned directly above the normal keyboard keys. The key guides for each software program are generally provided in an elongated strip which may be loosely laid atop the keyboard adjacent these control function keys. These key guides provide directions to the user indicating the particular function within the software logic which each of the keyboard control function keys command .

Alternately, some software manufacturers provide the key guide in the form of a plurality of rectangularly shaped adhesive sheets or patches sized to be adhered one each atop the control function keys on the keyboard.

With respect to the currently most popular mode of providing key guides in the form of an elongated key guide strip, for those users who utilize more than one software program, storing, retrieving and positioning these loose key guides becomes burdensome at best. Additionally, normal wear and tear associated with interchanging key guides on a daily basis quickly abuses the physical integrity of these key guides.

In dealing with the alternate embodiment of key guides, in the form of individual adhesive patches to be adhered atop the control function keys, such an approach egotistically assumes that only that manufacturer's software will be utilized by a computer user.

The present invention provides a computer software key guide holder which is attachable as an accessory atop a computer keyboard and adjacent the keyboard control function keys such that a plurality of key guides may be retained and displayed in viewable alignment and registry with the control function keys, one key guide command adjacent a different control function key at a time. Where individual key guide adhesive patches are provided with the software program, these adhesive patches may be adhered to an elongated properly sized strip which is then retained within the display member for convenient selection and use vis-a¬ vis a plurality of other key guides.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed to a computer software key guide holder including an elongated display member and retaining means for positioning, indexing and retaining the display member atop a computer keyboard. The display member, which may be tubular or solid, is adapted to receive and display a plurality of software key guides while the retaining means positions the display member adjacent the keyboard control function keys such that each software key guide, one at a time, may be clearly viewable by a user in alignment and registry with the keyboard control keys. The invention may also include an elongated shroud or housing having an opening,, the housing surrounding the display member and preventing all but one side of the display member and associated key guide to be viewable through the opening. Detent means and indexing indicia may also be provided in alternate embodiments.

It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a computer key guide holder as an inexpensive accessory adaptable to be adhered to the keyboard of a computer for retaining and displaying a plurality of software key guides each in correct alignment and registry with the computer control function keys.

It is another object of this invention to eliminate the necessity of otherwise storing software key guides not in use and to reduce and eliminate physical abuse thereto when required for use.

It is yet another object of this invention to provide an accessory for retaining, storing and displaying a plurality of software key guides one at a time in an accessory which is tasteful and attractive vis-a-vis the asthetics which have been designed into modern computer equipment.

It is yet another object to provide the above invention in a broad price and structure complexity range to satisfy both the simple needs of users with a small number of computer software programs as well as the more complex needs of users with a larger number of computer software programs and associated key guides and which is more elaborate in physical appearance.

In accordance with these and other objects which will become apparent hereinafter, the instant invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a pictorial view of the preferred embodiment of the invention in use atop the keyboard of a computer system.

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the invention as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 3 is a partial section view in the direction of arrows 3-3 in Figure 2.

Figure 4 is an enlarged exploded perspective view of one end of the invention as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 5 is a section view in the direction of arrows 5-5 in Figure 3.

Figure 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention.

Figure 7 is a section view in the direction of arrows -*-

1- 1 in Figure 6.

Figure 8 is a section view in the direction of arrows 8-8 in Figure 7.

Figure 9 is a partially broken front elevation section view of another embodiment of the invention.

Figure 10 is a section view in the direction of arrows- 10-10 in Figure 9.

Figure 11 is a perspective view of the invention as shown in Figure 9 in an alternate orientation.

Figure 12 is an enlarged exploded perspective view of one end of another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to Figures 1 to 5, the preferred embodiment of the invention is shown generally at 10 and includes a base 12 and an elongated display member 14. The base 12, supportively retaining the display member 14 therewithin as will be herebelow described, is releasably attachable atop a keyboard KB of a computer C which also includes terminal screen T connected in its well-known arrangement.

A modern computer C, particularly one which is IBM/PC compatible, includes a series of control function keys CF. These keys CF are most typically disposed on the keyboard KB above the conventional arable and numeral key array K as best shown in Figure 1. These control function keys CF are arranged in a row and generally carry the indicia of Fl...Fn and are provided so that the user may interface with, and control the various command functions within, any given computer software program available.

The display member 14 is fabricated of an elongated transparent triangular sectioned tube 26 and an end plug 28 disposed into each end of the tube 26 as best seen in

Figures 3 and 4. The dimensions of tube 26 are such that each elongated strip of control function commands embodied in a key guide as provided by the software' manufacturer, or as may be fabricated by the user, may be slid within the tube 26 and disposed against one of the i-nner side surfaces for display. By this arrangement, then, in the preferred embodiment, three key guides KGl, KG2 and KG3, as best seen in Figure 5, may be disposed within and against one side each of the tube 26. Thereafter, the user may view each key guide KGl, KG2 or KG3 through the transparent tube 26 as herebelow described.

The end plugs 28, are adapted to snuggly fit and be retained within each end of the hollow tube 26 and are also provided with support shaft 30. Base 12 includes an elongated relatively flat mid-portion 16 and upwardly extending end portions 18 and 20. Each end portion 18 and

20 includes slots 22 and 24 respectively which are adapted, in conjunction with the relative lengths of tube 26 and base mid-portion 16, to supportively receive shafts 30 therein.

By this arrangement, then, the display member 14 may be downwardly inserted and supportively disposed and retained within base 12 such that each key guide KGl, KG2 or KG3 may be viewable by the user one at a time.

The base 12 is also provided with mating magnetic particle strips 32.and 34. Magnetic strip 32 is adhered to the bottom side of mid-portion 16, while magnetic strip 34 may be adhered by adhesive means 38 which is exposed after peeling media strip 36 therefrom, onto the keyboard KB. The alignment and positioning of the base 12 vis-a-vis the control function key CF is established such that the user's line of sight LS will place the appropriate control function key CF in viewable registry and alignment with the corresponding software key guide KGl' control command as best seen in Figure 1.

Although the preferred embodiment of the invention includes a triangular sectioned hollow tube 26 having three equal transparent flat side surfaces, the invention, as will be herebelow described, may include substantially more side surfaces adapted to accommodate users having more than three software programs with associated key guides, KGl...KGn. In the preferred embodiment 10, the display member 14, having the key guides KGl, KG2 and KG3 disposed within the transparent tube 26 as previously described, may simply be lifted from base 12 and slots 22 and 24, rotated such that the appropriate key guide KGl, KG2 or KG3 faces the line of sight LS of the user, and then be redisposed within base 12 for use.

Referring now to Figures 6, 7 and 8, an alternate embodiment of the invention is shown generally at 50 and also includes a shroud or housing 56, along with an alternate embodiment for base 52 and display member 54. Installation and removal of the assembly 50 atop the keyboard KB is facilitated, as in the previous embodiment 10, by mating magnetic particle strips, particle strip 102 being connected to the bottom surface of the mid-portion of base 52, while mating magnetic strip 104 is connectable onto the keyboard KB by adhesive means 106. By this arrangement of mating magnetic strips 102 and 104, the entire assembly 50 may easily be removed from the keyboard KB for changing or adding key guides then realigned back in the correct position atop the keyboard KB.

The base 52 also includes upwardly extending end portions 72 and 74, while the display member 54 includes elongated tube 58 having end plugs 60 and 62 disposed into each end as shown. In this embodiment 50, the display member tube 58, having five separate flat side surfaces, also includes channel members 92 along the line of inter¬ section of each side surface. Each channel member 92 includes slots 94 and 96 which opposingly form a mating channel slot to slidably receive and retain one of each key guide KGl to KG5 disposed therebetween. This embodiment of the tube 58 need not be transparent and may also be tubular or solid because each key guide member KGl to KG5 is disposed on the outer surface of each side of tube 58 for viewing by the user.

The display member 54 is supportively disposed within and between base ends 72 and 74 and is held thusly for axial rotation by the mating interengagement of cavity 64 in end plug 62 and shaft 78 on base end 74 at one end of the display member 54 and shaft 66 connected to end plug 60 resting within slot 76 in base end 72 as best seen in Figure 8. By this arrangement, then, the display member 54 may be axially rotated within base 52 without removal therefrom by manipulating knob 68 connected to shaft 66. A longitudinal concave clearance surface 70' has been provided along the length of mid-portion 70 of base 52 to facilitate rotation of display member 54.

To facilitate quick and consistent reorientation of the display member 54 about its longitudinal axis by the manipulation of knob 68, a detent arrangement is provided by the releasable interengagement of ball 80 in one of five cavities 88 provided in end plug 62. Compression spring 82, disposed in cavity 84 of base end 74 biases ball 80 into one cavity 88 at a time while compression spring 86, disposed over shaft 66, biases the entire display member 54 to the left as seen in Figure 8 to enhance this detent function.

Lastly, this embodiment 50 includes a removable shroud or housing 56 formed of a contoured sheet of plastic and having window 90 disposed therethrough. The housing 56 releasably interengages around the display member 54 by the dovetail portions 98 and 100 at each end which interengage mating recesses in base ends 72 and 74. The window 90 is disposed such that only one key guide KGl, KG2, KG3, KG4 or KG5 may be viewed at a time, the housing 56 being otherwise opaque. The user may thus, by rotating knob 68, select the appropriate key guide KGl, KG2, KG3, KG4 or KG5 to be viewed through window 90.

Referring now to Figures 9 and 10, a three sided triangular sectioned display member 112 is provided in this embodiment shown generally at 110. This display member 112 is formed of a transparent hollow tubular member 124 similar to that previously described with respect to Figure 1. However, in this embodiment 110, end plugs 126 are provided with hexagonal shafts 128 which mateably engage within slots 120 and 122 in the upwardly extending ends 116 and 118 of base 114. The bottom portions of slots 120 and 122 include flats 123 which mateably engage with the flat sides of hexagonal shafts 128 to provide the detent function as previously described with respect to Figure 6.

Again, in this embodiment 110, the mid-portion 130 of base 114 is provided with a longitudinal concave clearance cavity 132 so that the display member 112 may be conveniently axially rotated within base 114 without removal therefrom. However, to remove display member 112 from base

114 to add or replace key guide KGl, KG2 or KG3, the display member 112 may be simply lifted completely from slots 120 and 122 in the direction of the arrow.

Referring additionally to Figure 11 in conjunction with Figures 9 and 10, should the user desire a different angular orientation of the facing key guide KGl, KG2 or KG3 (here shown facing upwardly), the mating hexagonal surfaces between hexagonal shaft 128 and the of slots 120 and 122 provides for such alternate orientation of the viewable key guide.

Referring lastly to Figure 12, another alternate and simpler embodiment of the invention is shown there generally and includes tube 26 as previously described for receiving and displaying up to three key guides KGl, KG2 and KG3. However, in this embodiment only two opposing end supports 40 are provided each which include wider slot 42 approximately equal to the width of each side of tube 26. The ba.se 44 of support 40 includes adhesive means 46 which may be interengaged to the keyboard KB such that tube 26 is disposed adjacent the control function keys CF to effect the proper line of sight LS as previously described with respect to Figure 1. Thus, tube 26, carrying key guides KGl, KG2 and KG3, may be removed, reoriented and replaced in the direction of the arrows within mating supports 40, one at each end of the tube 26, atop the keyboard KB.

It should be here noted that, while a substantial number of software manufacturers provide elongated strips of key guides, nonetheless, where such a strip is not provided, or where the strip is of a different size or dimension from that afforded by the particular tube 26 (Figures 1 and 2), 58 (Figure 6) , or 124 (Figure 9) , or where the software manufacturer provides simply a series of adhesive patches to be attached atop the control function keyboard CF individual keys, the user may alternately fabricate a key guide strip which precisely fits within the dimensions of the particular tube 26, 58 or 124.

While the instant invention has been shown and -?- described herein in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention, which is therefore not to be limited to the details disclosed herein, but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent apparatus and articles.

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys comprising: an elongated display member having a polygonal cross-section with each two adjacent polygonal edges defining an axially extending flat surface; holding means associated with each of said flat surfaces for holding an elongated software key guide against each said flat surface; each of said flat surfaces being generally coextensive with the software key guide to be held; and retaining means for retaining said display member on a computer keyboard structured to position a selected one of said plurality of axially extending flat surfaces and to display a jdesired software key guide in viewable alignment and registry with corresponding keyboard control function keys.
2. A computer software key guide holder for identifying, the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 1, wherein: said elongated display member is hollow and transparent; said axially extending flat surfaces are interior surfaces of said elongated display member; and said holding means is said adjacent interior surfaces.
3. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 2, further comprising: index means positioned between said elongated display member and said retaining means for locating and releasably retaining said display member in each said display member selected position whereby each selected software key guide is optimally viewable one at a time by the user.
4. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 3, further comprising: an elongated housing which includes said retaining means and also further includes an elongated
opening; said housing surrounding said display member and adapted to position only one selected -//- software key guide in said display member at a time in viewable alignment and registry with said opening in conjunction with each said display member selected position.
5. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 1, wherein: each said display member includes a generally coextensive pair of mating spaced apart channels along each two adjacent said polygonal edges; each said channel pair structured to receive, retain and display a software key guide therebetween.
6. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 5, further comprising: index means positioned between said display member and said retaining means for locating and releasably retaining said display member in each said display member selected position whereby each selected software key guide is optimally viewable one at a time by the user.
7. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys comprising: an elongated display member formed of a transparent hollow multi-sided tube; said tube structured to insertably receive and display a plurality of elongated software key guides within said tube and against the inner surface of said tube sides, one said software key guide per tube side; a pair of end supports integrally formed and upwardly disposed from the ends of an elongated base connectable atop a computer keyboard; said pair of end supports structured to cooperatively receive and support said display member in selected positions of axial rotational orientation about said display member longtitudinal axis; each said display member position placing one software key guide in viewable alignment and registry with corresponding keyboard control function keys; and said base having a top surface contoured along its length to provide clearance for said display member to be rotated about its longitudinal axis in said end supports.
8. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the functino of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 7, further comprising: longitudinal shafts extending from each end of said display member positioned to releasably interengage within mating apertures formed into facing, generally upright surfaces of said pair of end supports; each said longitudinal shaft including a plurality of flat surfaces formed to engage mating flat surfaces within said slots; said shaft flat surfaces and said aperture flat surfaces cooperatively configured to provide indexing indicia for each said position of said display member.
9. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys comprising: an elongated display member having a polygonal cross-sec ion with each two adjacent polygonal edges defining an axially extending flat surface; holding means associated with each of said flat surfaces for holding an elongated software key guide adjacent each said flat surface; each of said flat surfaces being generally coextensive with the software key guide to be held; retaining means for retaining said display member on a computer keyboard structured to position a selected one of said plurality of axially extending flat surfaces and to display a desired software key guide in viewable alignment and registry with corresponding keyboard control function keys; each said display member includes a generally coextensive pair of mating spaced apart channels along each said polygonal edges; each said channel pair structured to receive, retain and display a software key guide therebetween; said retaining means including an elongated base having upwardly extending ends; each said base end structured to receive a longitudinal shaft connected to and extending from each end of said display member; and said display member supported and held from rotation by contact on one side against said base elongated flat upper surface.
10. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 9, further comprising: adhesive means for connecting said base to the keyboard including a first magnetic strip embedded in said base bottom surface; a second magnetic strip attachable to the keyboard; said first and second magnetic strips having mating surfaces mutually attractive one to another .
11. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys comprising: an elongated display member having a polygonal cross-section with each two adjacent polygonal edges defining an axially extending flat surface; holding means associated with each of said flat surfaces for holding an elongated software key guide against each said flat surface; each of said flat surfaces being generally coextensive with the software key guide to be held; retaining means for retaining said display member on a computer keyboard structured to position a selected one of said plurality of axially extending flat surfaces and to display a desired software key guide in viewable alignment an registry with corresponding keyboard control function keys; said elongated display member hollow and transparent; said axially extending flat surfaces are interior surfaces of said display member; said holding means is said adjacent interior surfaces; said retaining means including an elongated base having upwardly extending ends; said base also having elongated upper surface and a generally coextensive bottom surface; each said base end configured to receive a longitudinal shaft connected to and extending from each end of said display member; and said elongated display member supported and held from rotation by contact on one side against said base upper surface.
12. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys as set forth in Claim 11, further comprising: adhesive means for connecting said base to the keyboard including a first magnetic strip embedded in said base bottom surface; a second magnetic strip attachable to the keyboard; said first and second magnetic strips having mating surfaces mutually attractive one to another .
13. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys comprising: an elongated display member formed of a transparent multi-sided tube; said tube formed to insertably receive and display a plurality of elongated software key guides within said tube and against the inner surface of said tube sides, one said software key guide per tube side; a pair of end supports connectable in spaced apart relation atop a computer keyboard; said end supports formed to receive and support said display member in selected positions of axial rotational orientation about said display member longtitudinal axis; and each said display member selected position placing and retaining each software key guide selected in viewable alignment and registry with corresponding keyboard control function keys.
14. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys in accordance with Claim.13, further comprising: longitudinal shafts extending from each end of said display member positioned to downwardly slide and be secured within mating slots formed in to facing generally upright surfaces of said pair of end supports.
15. A computer software key guide holder for identifying the function of adjacent keyboard control function keys comprising: an elongated display member having a first and second end and formed of a multi-sided tube and having a pair of mating spaced-apart channels extending longitudinally substantially along the margins of each said tube side; each said channel pair sized to receive and retain a software key guide therebetween; an elongated base and housing each having a first and second end, said housing connected over said base and having an elongated opening; said base first and second ends upwardly extending, said base also having a generally longitudinally concave top surface; said display member having a position knob extending from said first end which extends outwardly through said base first' end; said display member having a cavity structure in said second end to receive a support shaft connected to and extending inwardly from said base second end; said positioning knob in said base first end and said support shaft in said display member second end cavity structure formed to allow said tube to be supported and rotate about its longitudinal axis and said housing, said base concave surface providing clearance for said display member rotation; detent means between said display member second end cavity structure and said base second end for maintaining said display member in selected positions of axial rotational orientation about said display members longitudinal axis; each said display member selected position placing and retaining each said software key guide selected in viewable alignment and registry with corresponding keyboard control functioning keys; and said housing surrounding said display member and formed to position only one selected key guide in said display member at a time in viewable alignment and registry with said opening in conjunction with each said display member alternate position.
PCT/US1989/000134 1988-01-19 1989-01-18 Computer keyboard software key guide holder WO1989006600A1 (en)

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US14505488A true 1988-01-19 1988-01-19
US145,054 1988-01-19

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Cited By (5)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0404290A2 (en) * 1989-06-21 1990-12-27 Sarasota Technologies Inc. Computer keyboard function key guide
FR2657711A1 (en) * 1990-01-26 1991-08-02 Bidaud Catherine Device for identifying the special keys of a keyboard according to the function temporarily attributed to them
WO1992018996A1 (en) * 1991-04-10 1992-10-29 Kinesis Corporation Ergonomic keyboard apparatus
US5610602A (en) * 1992-08-18 1997-03-11 Kinesis Corporation Keyboard and method for producing
US5689253A (en) * 1991-04-10 1997-11-18 Kinesis Corporation Ergonomic keyboard apparatus

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
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WO1992018996A1 (en) * 1991-04-10 1992-10-29 Kinesis Corporation Ergonomic keyboard apparatus
US5689253A (en) * 1991-04-10 1997-11-18 Kinesis Corporation Ergonomic keyboard apparatus
US5610602A (en) * 1992-08-18 1997-03-11 Kinesis Corporation Keyboard and method for producing

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