WO1995028711A1 - Multidirectional switch assembly for hand held recording devices - Google Patents

Multidirectional switch assembly for hand held recording devices

Info

Publication number
WO1995028711A1
WO1995028711A1 PCT/US1995/005054 US9505054W WO1995028711A1 WO 1995028711 A1 WO1995028711 A1 WO 1995028711A1 US 9505054 W US9505054 W US 9505054W WO 1995028711 A1 WO1995028711 A1 WO 1995028711A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
pad
rocker
recording
switch
hand
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1995/005054
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Norbert P. Daberko
Stephen T. Brightbill
Elwood G. Norris
Original Assignee
Comp General Corporation
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

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G11INFORMATION STORAGE
    • G11BINFORMATION STORAGE BASED ON RELATIVE MOVEMENT BETWEEN RECORD CARRIER AND TRANSDUCER
    • G11B19/00Driving, starting, stopping record carriers not specifically of filamentary or web form, or of supports therefor; Control thereof; Control of operating function ; Driving both disc and head
    • G11B19/02Control of operating function, e.g. switching from recording to reproducing
    • G11B19/16Manual control
    • GPHYSICS
    • G11INFORMATION STORAGE
    • G11BINFORMATION STORAGE BASED ON RELATIVE MOVEMENT BETWEEN RECORD CARRIER AND TRANSDUCER
    • G11B33/00Constructional parts, details or accessories not provided for in the preceding groups
    • G11B33/10Indicating arrangements; Warning arrangements
    • GPHYSICS
    • G11INFORMATION STORAGE
    • G11CSTATIC STORES
    • G11C2207/00Indexing scheme relating to arrangements for writing information into, or reading information out from, a digital store
    • G11C2207/16Solid state audio

Abstract

A hand held digital recording device (10) having a multidirectional switch assembly. A printed circuitboard (16) including a microprocessor (20) electrically coupled to switch terminals (22) operates to control the processing of original sound into first electrical signals and store said signals on a digital recording medium (18). A casement (12) about three inches wide contains the printed circuitboard and includes a pivot support (32) disposed therein. A single, manually operable rocker-pad (30) centrally mounted upon the pivot support (32) such that said Rocker-pad (30) is pivotable in respective right-angle directions responsive to manipulation by the thrumb. The combination of the small size of the casement and the position of the rocker-pad enables a user to grip the recording device with one hand and easily manipulate the rocker-pad with the thumb of the gripping hand to selectively execute any of a plurality of command schemes.

Description

MULTIDIRECTIONAL SWITCH ASSEMBLY FOR HAND HELD RECORDING DEVICES

1. The Field of the Invention.

The present invention relates generally to manually operable switch assemblies in recording devices. More particularly, it concerns a multidirectional switch on a hand held recording device which is operable with the thumb of the hand holding the device to thereby provide intuitive, error-free control of many different command schemes without the need for visual inspection by the user.

2. The Background Art.

Manually operable switch assemblies are known to provide multi-functional manual control of recording devices. It is well known to provide a separate control button for each executable command in a tape recorder, such as "play", "record", "fast forward", "rewind", "pause", and "stop". The operation of recorders requires rapid and intermittent execution of these commands to permit the user to quickly advance and reverse the magnetic tape, play back and edit messages, and so forth.

A common objective in the design of recording devices is to minimize the overall size of the recorder. Accordingly, this has motivated the development of a number of different hand held recorders. Hand held recorders have provided the user with the conveniences of enhanced portability and have therefore become an indispensable management tool, especially in office settings. The substantially smaller size of hand held recorders permits them to be carried in a briefcase, purse, or even a pocket, and enables the user to conveniently dictate letters or instructions while traveling in an automobile, plane, or bus.

However, the rapid and impressive advances in miniaturizing recorders have been conspicuously unaccompanied by significant corresponding advances in the switch assembly. Although command buttons have been developed which can execute two commands from a single button, such as a rewind/fastforward button, there still remains a cumbersome collection of buttons the user must consider to execute a command. This has been a major obstacle in the effort to minimize the size of the recorder and enhance the convenience of operation. The approach has been simply to reduce the size of the command buttons and mount them close together on one side of the recorder. The different functions have thus largely remained separate in their own smaller, closely spaced command buttons. When the small button size and layout is combined with the rigors of operation of the hand held recorder, which requires intricate and rapid command capabilities, the result is confusion between the command buttons and/or inadvertent execution of two commands at once. The user must often interrupt his or her dictation to look down at the command buttons to avoid pressing the wrong one or to correct for having pressed the wrong one. This becomes very tedious, laborious, and disruptive to the creative flow of thought.

One attempt to enhance the convenience of the switch assembly is disclosed in United States Patent No. 3,586,807 (issued on June 22, 1971 to Guttinger). A number of commands are executable by a rotatable hemispherical shell mounted in the handle portion of a microphone, which plugs into a recording device. However, the size required for the microphone alone is comparable to the size of an entire hand held recorder, and the user must touch and roll the hemispherical shell in order to execute a command. The large size of the microphone structure and the additional step of rolling the hemispherical shell frustrate the objectives of making the recording device smaller and easier to use.

The disadvantages in the prior art switch assemblies in recording devices are multiplied when applied to digitized, solid-state recording devices recently discovered and developed by the present inventor. The combination of digitized computer technology with recording capabilities results in hosts of additional command capabilities not previously known in the prior art recording devices. Although these command capabilities provide numerous conveniences in operation, the prior art approach of providing a separate button for each command would result in a monstrous array of buttons if applied to the command structure of this new solid state recording technology.

There is thus a need for a compact, multifunctional switch assembly with a minimum of command buttons for use in hand held recording devices. There is a further need for a switch assembly which provides an intuitive control layout for dozens of command schemes which are easily distinguishable by feel and without visual inspection by the user.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a multidirectional switch assembly on a hand held recording device which is simple in design and operation.

It is another object of the invention to provide such a multidirectional switch assembly which provides an intuitive control layout for a plurality of command schemes which are easily distinguishable by feel of the multidirectional switch without frequent visual inspection by the user.

It is an additional object of the invention to provide such a multidirectional switch assembly wherein four or more command schemes are executable from a single multidirectional switch.

It is a further object of the invention, in accordance with one aspect thereof, to provide such a multidirectional switch assembly which is compatible with a hand held, solid state digital recording device.

The above objects and others not specifically recited are realized in an illustrative embodiment of a hand held, solid state digital recording device having a multidirectional switch assembly. A printed circuitboard including a microprocessor electrically coupled to switch terminals operates to control the processing of original sound into first electrical signals and store said signals on a digital recording medium. The microprocessor also operates to perform functional operations of the hand held recording device. A casement contains the printed circuitboard and includes a pivot support disposed therein, the casement having a width of approximately three inches. A single, manually operable rocker-pad is centrally mounted upon the pivot support such that said rocker-pad is pivotable in respective right-angle directions responsive to manipulation by the thumb. The combination of the small size of the casement and the position of the rocker-pad enables a user to grip the recording device with one hand and easily manipulate the rocker-pad with the thumb of the gripping hand to selectively execute any of a plurality of command schemes.

Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by the practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the subsequent detailed description presented in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of a hand held recording device with a multidirectional switch assembly made in accordance with the principles of the present invention; FIG. 2 illustrates a side, partial cross sectional view of the hand held recording device of FIG. 1 taken along section A╌A;

FIG. 3 illustrates debouncing circuitry of the hand held recording device of FIGS. 1-2;

FIG. 4 illustrates a front view of a casement of the hand held recording device of FIGS. 1-2;

FIG. 5 illustrates a front view of a printed circuitboard of the hand held recording device of FIGS. 1-2; and

FIG. 6 illustrates a side, perspective view of the casement of FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made to the drawings wherein like structures will be provided with like reference numerals.

FIGS. 1-2 illustrate the features of a hand held, solid state digital recording device ("recorder"), generally designated at 10. The hand held recorder 10 includes a casement 12 containing a microphone element 14, a speaker element 15, a printed circuit board 16, and a recording medium 18. The printed circuit board 16 includes a microprocessor 20 electrically coupled to the recording medium 18 and to switch terminals 22 disposed on said circuit board 16. These components are well known within the industry. Specific selections will depend on the type of recording device desired.

Disposed at a first side 12a of the casement 12 is a rocker-pad 30 pivotally mounted upon a pivot support 32. The rocker-pad 30 includes a first surface 30a configured for manual manipulation by a user's thumb, and an opposing second surface 30b facing the casement 12. The pivot support 32 is in mating engagement with a central portion of the second surface 30b of the rocker-pad 30 to thereby enable said rocker-pad 30 to tilt about said pivot support 32 responsive to manual manipulation of the rocker-pad 30. The rocker-pad 30 includes a periphery portion 31 having at least four lateral extremities 31a-d. Electrical contact or switching elements 34 are disposed in the second surface 30b of the rocker-pad 30 at each of the lateral extremities 31a-d of said rocker-pad 30. The contact elements 34 are respectively aligned with their corresponding switch terminals 22. A manually operable record button 36 is disposed in the first side 12a of the casement 12, as discussed below in more detail.

The microphone element 14 is configured to receive and process original sound into first electrical signals. The microprocessor 20 receives and processes the first electrical signals into a form compatible with the recording medium 18. The recording medium 18 receives and stores the processed first electrical signals to thereby enable future retrieval of said first electrical signals as sound output through the speaker element 15 substantially resembling the original sound.

A principle aspect in accordance with the present invention is the combination of the rocker-pad switch 30 with the recording device 10. The rocker-pad 30 provides a highly effective, intuitively operable link between the user and the microprocessor 20. The microprocessor 20 is programmed in accordance with principles known in the art to perform functional operations of the recorder 10, such as "record", "play", "advance to next message", "rewind to previous message", and "pause", for example. The microprocessor 20 is responsive to electrical control signals sent by a switch terminal 22 when the rocker-pad 30 is manipulated to move a contact element 34 into contact with said switch terminal 22. The electrical control signals are part of various control schemes which are explained in more detail below.

A key aspect is the combination of the single multidirectional rocker-pad 30 with a plurality of switch terminals 22 in a hand held recording device. The recorder 10 is small enough to permit a user to grip the recorder 10 in one hand and selectively manipulate the extremities 31a-d of the rocker-pad 30 to thereby send a desired electrical command signal to the microprocessor 20. The record button 36 also operates to establish contact between an electrical contact element and a switch terminal, or functional equivalents thereof, which are electrically coupled to the microprocessor 20.

The lateral extremities 31a-d of the rocker-pad 30 include first and second opposing extremities 31a and 31b, and third and fourth opposing extremities 31c and 31d. The mating engagement between the rocker-pad 30 and the pivot support 32 enables said rocker-pad to tilt about said pivot support 32 in the directions of first and second imaginary lines 33a and 33b responsive to manipulation of any of the extremities 31a-d. To make a command associated with the extremity 31a, a user must simply press down upon the extremity 31a to thereby move the contact element 34 into contact with a corresponding switch terminal 22 aligned with said extremity 31a. The switch terminals 22 can include any circuit-signal configuration, such as an open circuit which is pushed closed by the contact element 34, for example. This is shown schematically by switch terminals SWI-5 in FIGS. 3 and 5, which correspond to the switch terminals LL of the record button 36 and the extremities 31a-d of FIGS. 1-2.

Resilient biasing members 38 are disposed between the second surface 30b of the rocker-pad 30 at the lateral extremities 31a-d and the casement 12 as shown in FIG. 2, to thereby bias the contact elements 34 outward from engagement with the switch terminals 22. When the user releases his or her grip on the extremity 31a, the respective biasing member 38 causes the rocker-pad 30 to spring back into a neutral position. The biasing members 38 also serve to protect the switch terminals 22 from moisture and impact from the contact elements 34. A biasing member can also be used in conjunction with the record button 36.

It will be appreciated that the centrally mounted rocker-pad 30 permits only one corresponding pair of contact element 34/switch terminal 22 to be engaged at a time. This avoids the scenario of two commands being sent at once. It will further be appreciated that the user need not wonder if he or she is pressing the correct button, since there are only two "buttons" to push, the rocker-pad 30 and the record button 36, both of which comprise substantially different relative shapes as shown in FIG. 1 and are thereby readily distinguishable by feel.

The imaginary lines 33a and 33b respectively connecting the first and second opposing extremities 31a-b and the third and fourth extremities 31c-d, and are in substantial right-angle orientation. The first and second imaginary lines 33a and 33b are both positioned at angles relative to a third side 12c of the casement 12, to permit the thumb of the gripping hand to be in substantial alignment with said first imaginary line 33a when the casament 12 is gripped in said gripping hand and when said thumb is in a natural gripping position. It will be appreciated that this orientation permits the user to intuitively manipulate the extremities 31a-d with the thumb in a natural manner by (i) moving said thumb along the first imaginary line 33a to press either of the extremities 31a or 31b, and by (ii) moving said thumb laterally relative to said first imaginary line 33a to press either of the extremities 31c or 31d.

It will also be appreciated that the combinations and configurations described above enable intuitive, sightless control of the recorder 10. The thumb must intuitively extend forward to the extremity 31a to execute the "play" command, backward to the extremity 31b to execute the "pause" command, and laterally to the left or right to the extremities 31c and 3id, respectively, to execute the "rewind" and "fastforward" commands. The directional movement of the thumb required by the specific structure and orientation of the rocker-pad 30 is thus itself intuitively compatible with the command schemes. The user need not wonder if he or she is executing the correct command with the rocker-pad, since the choices only involve pressing a certain portion of the single rocker-pad 30, and not selecting among a number of different buttons as in the prior art recording devices.

The recording medium 18 may include a removable component which is selectively interchangeable between a plurality of solid state digital recording devices. This enables first electrical signals processed from original sound by a first sold state digital recording device and stored on the removable component to be retrieved as sound output by a second solid state digital recording device.

The operation of the rocker-pad 30, and more specifically the contact elements 34 and switch terminals 22, is enhanced with debouncing circuitry, an embodiment of which is shown in FIG. 3. Switch terminals SW1-5 in FIG. 3 correspond to the switch terminals 22 of the record button 36 and the lateral extremities 31a-d of the rocker-pad 30 of FIGS. 1-2. When a user manipulates the rocker-pad 30 or the record button 36, there are sometimes imperceptible multiple contacts made with the specific switch terminal 22 which produce noise in the circuitry for a short time, perhaps for a few milliseconds or microseconds. Eventually a clean contact is made to produce the desired signal which is preceded in the circuitry by the noise. The microprocessor 20 attempts to read the noise and often erroneously interprets the noise as a separate signal or some other error. The debouncing circuitry of FIG. 3 operates as a low pass filter as known in the art which essentially removes the noise signals such that them microprocessor 20 only receives the desired clean signal.

FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate side-by-side embodiments of the casement 12 and the printed circuitboard 16. It can be seen that by superimposing the casement 12 of FIG. 4 over the circuitboard 16 of FIG. 5, the extremities 31a-d of the rocker-pad 30 correspond with the switch terminals SW3, SW5, SW4 and SW2, respectively. The record button 36 corresponds to the switch terminal SW1. FIG. 5 therefore represents an embodiment of the printed circuitboard 16, and is readily understandable to those skilled in the art. FIG. 6 illustrates a side, perspective view of the casement 12 of FIG. 4.

It is to be understood that contact elements 34 and their corresponding switch terminals 22 may alternatively comprise many different configurations of electrically interactive elements. Accordingly, the term "electrically interactive element" or "electrically interactive means" as used herein shall refer to any set of electrically interactive members. For example, capacitors could be utilized and manipulated by the rocker-pad to send the electrical command signals, such that one interactive element is moved relative to another interactive element but not necessarily into contact therewith. The terms "electrically interactive" elements or means shall thus include the biasing members 38 in combination with the contact elements 34, wherein the contact elements 34 move the biasing members 38 into contact with the switch terminals 22 to thereby produce electrical signals, even though the contact elements 34 and the biasing members 38 are not necessarily conductive. In such cases, the terms "electrically interactive" element or means shall include a portion of the rocker-pad or a knob attached thereto, which simply acts upon another mechanical element but which does not itself engage in electrical connection but rather causes mechanical action resulting in an electrical connection. Any reference herein to moving a contact element "into engagement" with a switch terminal shall include the act of a contact element moving another element, such as a biasing member 38, into engagement with a switch terminal.

It is also to be understood that the switch terminals 22 or their functional corresponding equivalent component of a capacitor or other structure may be supported by the casement 12 instead of by the circuit board 16. The switch terminals 22 may of course be supported anywhere, as long as they are electrically coupled to the microprocessor 20 and are in alignment with their corresponding contact elements 34. Therefore, the phrase "supported at an opposing portion of the casement" as used herein shall refer broadly to elements which are actually supported by some other structure (such as the printed circuit board 16) which is in turn supported by the casement 12, as well as elements being directly supported on the casement 12 by its exterior or interior.

Any pivot support means capable of enabling some type of angular movement of the rocker-pad 30 may be used instead of the pivot support 32 or in addition thereto. For example and by illustration only, the pivot support 32 could be eliminated, and the rocker-pad 30 could be solely supported by the resilient biasing members 38. When the user presses upon one of the extremities 31a-d, the corresponding biasing member 38 would deform more than the others to thereby permit an angular displacement of the rocker-pad 30. The resilient biasing members 38 would thereby constitute "pivot support means" as used herein.

The microprocessor 20 includes a series of circuitry as known in the art, and is electrically connected to other circuitry. Accordingly, the term "control circuitry" as used herein shall refer broadly to any electrical processing apparatus, including a microprocessor only, or a microprocessor and related circuitry, or circuitry coupled to a processor.

The terms "periphery" and "perimeter portion" as used herein in conjunction with the rocker-pad 30 shall not be limited in meaning to refer exclusively to the perimeter of the rocker-pad, but shall include an outer margin of the rocker-pad 30 extending therearound.

The recorder 10 also includes a visual display 40 electrically connected to the microprocessor 16. The display 40 can display symbols and/or verbiage which describe the current command scheme being executed. The display 40 can display visual signals, either alone or in combination with an audible signal from the speaker 15, to prompt the user.

It will be appreciated that the combination of the rocker-pad 30 with hand held, computer-driven recording apparatus enables whole hosts of command schemes to be executed with a simple tap of the thumb on one of the extremities 31a-d. The computer control circuitry permits different commands from the same switch terminal 22 based upon the time length of contact and/or the number of contacts made in a certain time period.

The following tables define user functions selectable from the rocker-pad 30. In general, the user initiates all functions from the rocker-pad 30, with the microprocessor 20 managing the internal hardware. Unless specified otherwise in the following tables (for special conditions), the microprocessor 20 will place the recorder 10 into a "sleep" mode after fifteen seconds of non-activity. This important feature eliminates the need for a power switch, greatly improving unit efficiency and battery life. Great efforts have been made to reduce power consumption, in part, by the inclusion of power management circuitry and multiple power supplies/voltage regulators. The table columns which follow are headed by -mbols which correspond to certain of the extremities 31a-d of the rocker-pad 30, and to the record button 36, all as indicated parenthetically.

Table 4

Functional Definition; extended (two key) functions:

"⊙" + "≫ ":

Currently undefined

"⊙" + "⃞⃞":

Initiate VOX (voice actuated recording) mode

Recording-on threshold set with volume control. "⊙" + "≫ ≫ ":

Currently undefined.

"⊙" + "≪≪".

Erase all contents of recording medium 18.

Table 5

LED's:

Power LED (green):

Steady on indicates busy.

During play low power is indicated by flashing at the following rate: 100ms on, 900ms off, 100ms on...

Record LED (red):

Steady on indicates recording.

Recording error (i.e. write protected

SoundClip™) is indicated by flashing (and an error sound) at the rate: 100ms on, 900ms off, 100ms on...

Recording overflow is indicated by flashing (and an error sound) at the rate: 100ms on, 100ms off, 100ms on, 700ms off...

Alternate Power and Record LED Flashing:

When the last five minutes of recording time is reached the red and green LED's will start flashing (a warning sound will also be generated). The flashing cycle will be 500ms red, 500ms green, 500ms red... When the recorder 10 is in voice actuated recording mode:

Display 40 indicates recording by flashing 900ms red, 100ms green, 900ms red...

Display 40 indicates recording stand-by by flashing 900ms green, 100ms red, 900ms green...

Table 6

Audible feedback sounds:

Keyboard feedback:

Quick "taps":

Single tick (toggle state of sound line).

Long depressions (excluding unlocked recording): Single tick when button is pressed, another tick when 1 second expires.

Double "taps":

Single tick for first button depression, two ticks separated by 1/4 second for second button depression.

Error sounds:

750Hz beep for 1/2 second.

Warning sounds:

2000Hz beep for 1/4 second.

Table 7

Earphone and AC/DC adapter jack:

A combination earphone and AC/DC adapter jack is provided. A conventional sub-miniature (1/8") monaural earphone can be plugged into FlashBack. Installation of an earphone disables the speaker.

Alternatively, a power adapter can be plugged into the same jack extending batter life. Power input can be AC or

DC and in the range of 7.5 to 18V (AC or DC). Maximum drain is 250ma, average drain will be 50ma. FlashBack will regulate the voltage level internally. Table 8

Volume Control:

The volume control will set the audio level for the speaker and earphone. Additionally, it will serve to set the turn-on threshold in "voice actuated recording" (VOX) mode.

Recorder 10 Interface:

Every effort has been made in the design of the electrical interface for the recorder 10 to provide for future upgrades. The recorder 10 will include a limited FLASH PCMCIA card. Using the extender/adapter product, full PCMCIA FLASH Memory Card capability will be achieved. Additionally, standard FLASH Memory Cards will work with the recorder 10. It is anticipated that recorders 10 with increased storage capacity and sound quality will be offered in the near future.

It is to be understood that the commandable functions described above are illustrative and are not to be interpreted as limiting to the range of commands executable by the rocker-pad 30. Many other commands, tap lengths, number of taps, and so forth can be used with the rocker-pad 30.

While the present invention is described in terms of a switch assembly on a solid state digital recording device, it is to be understood that the present invention is not l(ited thereto but may be useful in any application enhanced by the rocker-pad command scheme. The rocker-pad 30 can be utilized with electrically interactive elements in combination with a prior art magnetic tape recorder. The principles of the invention may thus be used in any setting requiring the advantages thereof. Those having ordinary skill in the field of this invention will appreciate the advantages of the invention, and its application to a wide variety of uses.

The present invention represents a significant advance in the field of recording technology. It is noted that many of the advantages of the present invention accrue due to the fact that a single rocker-pad 30 is applied to a hand held recorder. Those having skill in the field of recording technology will appreciate many advantages of the rocker-pad 30 in combination with the record button 36 and the recorder 10. By enabling the user to execute large numbers of command schemes from a single button (rocker-pad 30), the present invention avoids the problem of confusion between buttons and the need to view the switch assembly in order to properly manipulate it. The incorporation of the instruments and combinations described above in a small hand held casement 12 enables the user to use a single hand to operate the recorder 10. The casement 12 preferably has a width within a range of approximately one inch to four inches, and most preferably about three inches.

It is to be understood that the above-described arrangements are only illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications and alternative arrangements may be devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and the appended claims are intended to cover such modifications and arrangements.

Claims

1. A hand-held recording device including a multidirectional switch assembly, said device comprising: a microphone element configured to receive and process original sound into first electrical signals;
control circuitry electrically coupled to the microphone element including (i) means for receiving and processing the first electrical signals, and (ii) means responsive to electrical command signals for performing functional operations of the hand-held recording device; recording means electrically coupled to the control circuitry including receiving means for receiving processed first electrical signals from said control circuitry and storing said processed first electrical signals to thereby enable future retrieval thereof as sound output substantially resembling the original sound;
a casement containing the microphone element, control circuitry and recording medium, said casement including at least one pivot support means disposed therein configured for mounting a rocker-pad thereon;
a single, manually operable rocker-pad having a first surface configured for manual manipulation by a user's thumb and an opposing second surface, said rocker-pad being pivotally mounted upon the at least one pivot support means such that said second surface faces the casement, to thereby enable said rocker-pad to pivot in multiple directions responsive to manipulation by a user's thumb to thereby cause electrical switching means to send electrical command signals to the control circuitry; and
electrical switching means including first and second electrically interactive means, one of said first and second electrically interactive means being electrically coupled to the control circuitry, said first and second interactive means being respectively supported on the rocker-pad and at an opposing portion of the casement, such that when said rocker-pad is pivoted said rocker-pad moves the first electrically interactive means relative to the second electrically interactive means to thereby cause the electrical switching means to send an electrical command signal to the control circuitry to thereby cause said control circuitry to perform functional operations.
2. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim 1:
wherein the rocker-pad includes a plurality of lateral extremities;
wherein the first electrically interactive means includes a plurality of contact elements disposed in the second surface of the rocker-pad at the lateral extremities of said rocker-pad;
wherein the second electrically interactive means includes a plurality of switch terminals respectively aligned relative to the contact elements, to thereby permit a user to selectively move one of said contact elements into engagement with a respectively aligned switch terminal by manipulating the first surface of the rocker-pad at a particular lateral extremity thereof, to thereby cause the electrical switching means to send a desired electrical command signal to the control circuitry.
3. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim 2:
wherein the lateral extremities of the rocker-pad comprise first and second opposing extremities and third and fourth opposing extremities, each said extremity having a contact element disposed therein at the second surface of the rocker-pad;
wherein the rocker-pad is positioned at a first side of the casement and wherein a width of the casement is within a range of approximately one inch to four inches to thereby permit the casement to be gripped firmly in a gripping hand of a user, such that the first, second, third and fourth extremities of said rocker-pad are accessible with a thumb of said gripping hand, to thereby enable the user to selectively execute any of a plurality of commands of the hand held recording device by manipulating an extremity of the rocker-pad with the thumb.
4. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim
3 wherein the first, second, third and fourth lateral extremities are positioned such that first and second imaginary lines connecting the first and second opposing extremities and the third and fourth opposing extremities, respectively, are in substantial right-angle orientation, said rocker-pad being positioned to permit the thumb of the gripping hand to be in substantial alignment with said first imaginary line when the casement is gripped in said gripping hand and when said thumb is in a natural gripping position, to thereby permit the user to intuitively manipulate said extremities with said thumb by moving said thumb along said first imaginary line and laterally thereto, on the first surface of the rocker-pad.
5. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim 4, wherein the rocker-pad is positioned such that when the casement is gripped in a gripping hand of a user with the thumb of the gripping hand in substantial alignment with the first imaginary line such that a tip of the thumb of the gripping hand is located at an intersection of the first and second imaginary lines, said tip of said thumb must move forward relative to said gripping hand to manipulate the first extremity, backward to manipulate the second extremity, sideways in one direction to manipulate the third extremity, and sideways in a direction opposite said one direction to manipulate the fourth extremity.
6. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim 5, wherein the at least one pivot support means comprises a first support surface facing outwardly from the casement, and wherein the second surface of the rocker-pad comprises a centrally located second support surface in mating engagement with the first support surface of the pivot support means such that the rocker-pad is central mounted upon said pivot support means to thereby enable the rocker-pad to tilt about said pivot support means in the directions of the first and second imaginary lines responsive to manipulation of the first, second, third, and fourth lateral extremities.
7. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim 6, further comprising:
biasing means disposed between the second surface of the rocker-pad at the lateral extremities thereof and the casement for biasing the contact elements away from the switch terminals.
8. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim 3, further comprising:
a manually operable record button positioned at the first side of the casement and adjacent to the rocker-pad such that said rocker-pad and said record button are both accessible with the thumb of the gripping hand when the casement is gripped firmly by said gripping hand with an opposing second side of said casement substantially facing the palm of said gripping hand, said record button having a first surface configured for manual manipulation by said thumb and an opposing second surface facing the casement; wherein the first electrically interactive means further comprises a record contact element disposed in the second surface of the record button and wherein the second electrically interactive means further comprises a record switch terminal supported at an opposing portion of the casement, such that when said record button is manipulated by the thumb said record button moves the record contact element relative to the record switch terminal to thereby cause said electrical switch means to send an electrical command signal to the control circuitry to thereby cause said control circuitry to perform functional operations.
9. A hand held recording device as defined in Claim 2 wherein said recording device comprises a solid state digital recording device including a printed circuit board, and wherein the control circuitry comprises a microprocessor of the printed circuit board, and wherein the receiving means of the recording means comprises a removable component which is selectively interchangeable between a plurality of solid state digital recording devices to thereby enable first electrical signals processed from original sound by a first solid state digital recording device and stored on the removable component to be retrieved as sound output by a second solid state digital recording device.
10. A multidirectional switch assembly for hand held, solid state digital recording devices, said switch assembly comprising:
a printed circuit board having a microprocessor and a plurality of switch terminals electrically coupled to the microprocessor;
a casement containing the printed circuit board and having first and second opposing sides;
a single, manually operable rocker-pad mounted in the first side of the casement proximate to the printed circuit board and including first and second opposing surfaces and four lateral extremities with said second surface substantially facing the casement, each said extremity having a contact element disposed therein at the second surface of the rocker pad, said contact elements being respectively aligned relative to said switch terminals and spaced apart therefrom; and
pivot support means disposed in the casement and including a support surface in mating engagement with a central portion of the second surface of the rocker-pad to thereby enable said rocker-pad to tilt about said pivot support means responsive to manual manipulation of one of the lateral extremities of said rocker-pad by an amount sufficient to move the contact element of said one of the lateral extremities into engagement with a corresponding switch terminal to thereby cause said switch terminal to send an electrical command signal to the microprocessor to thereby cause said microprocessor to perform functional operations of the recording device;
wherein a width of the casement is within a range of approximately two inches to four inches to thereby permit the casement to be gripped firmly in a gripping hand of a user with the second side of said casement substantially facing a palm of said gripping hand, such that the four extremities of said rocker-pad are accessible with a thumb of said gripping hand, to thereby enable the user to selectively execute any of a plurality of commands of the hand held recording device by manipulating an extremity of the rocker-pad with said thumb.
11. A multidirectional switch assembly as defined in Claim 10 wherein the lateral extremities of the rocker-pad comprise first and second opposing extremities connecting by a first imaginary line and third and fourth opposing extremities connected by a second imaginary line such that said first and second imaginary lines are in substantial right-angle orientation, said rocker-pad being positioned to permit said thumb of the gripping hand to be in substantial alignment with said first imaginary line when the casement is gripped in said gripping hand and when said thumb is in a natural gripping position, to thereby permit the user to intuitively manipulate said extremities with the thumb by moving the thumb along said first imaginary line and laterally thereto, on the first surface of the rocker-pad.
12. A multidirectional switch assembly for hand-held recording devices, said recording devices including a casement containing at least one pivot support means and control circuitry responsive to electrical command signals for performing functional operations of the hand-held recording device, said switch assembly comprising:
a single, manually operable rocker-pad having a first surface configured for manual manipulation by a user's thumb and an opposing second surface, said rocker-pad being configured for pivotally mounting upon the at least one pivot support means such that said second surface faces the casement, to thereby enable said rocker-pad to pivot in multiple directions responsive to manipulation by a user's thumb to thereby actuate electrical switching means to send electrical command signals to the control circuitry; and electrical switching means including first and second electrically interactive means, one of said first and second electrically interactive means being electrically coupled to the control circuitry, said first and second interactive means being respectively supported on the rocker-pad and at an opposing portion of the casement, such that when said rocker-pad is pivoted said rocker-pad moves the first electrically interactive means relative to the second electrically interactive means to thereby cause said electrically interactive means to send an electrical command signal to the control circuitry to thereby cause said control circuitry to perform functional operations.
13. A method for providing a hand held, solid state digital recording device with a multidirectional switch assembly, said method comprising the following steps:
(a) selecting a printed circuit board having a microprocessor and a plurality of switch terminals electrically coupled to the microprocessor;
(b) selecting a casement having a width within a range of approximately two inches to four inches to thereby permit the casement to be gripped firmly in a gripping hand of a user;
(c) placing the printed circuit board in the casement;
(d) disposing a pivot support having a first support surface in the casement with said first support surface facing outward from the casement;
(e) selecting a single, manually operable rocker-pad having first and second opposing surfaces and four lateral extremities;
(f) disposing contact elements in said four lateral extremities at the second surface of the rocker-pad such that said contact elements are respectively aligned relative to the switch terminals and spaced apart therefrom;
(g) pivotally mounting the rocker-pad on the pivot support means with a central portion of the second surface of said rocker-pad in mating engagement with the first support surface of said pivot support means, such that said rocker-pad is proximate to the printed circuit board with said electrically conductive contact elements facing and respectively aligned relative to said switch terminals and spaced apart therefrom, such that the four extremities of said rocker-pad are accessible with a thumb of said gripping hand when the casement is gripped in said gripping hand, to thereby enable the user to selectively execute any of a plurality of commands of the hand held recording device by manipulating an extremity of the rocker-pad with said thumb to thereby tilt the rocker-pad by an amount sufficient to move a contact element into engagement with a corresponding switch terminal to thereby cause said switch terminal to send an electrical command signal to the microprocessor to thereby cause said microprocessor to perform functional operations of the recording device.
14. A method as defined in claim 13 wherein the four lateral extremities of the rocker-pad comprise first and second opposing extremities and third and fourth opposing extremities positioned such that first and second imaginary lines connecting the first and second opposing extremities and the third and fourth extremities, respectively, are in substantial right-angle orientation, step (g) further comprising the step of:
(h) positioning the rocker-pad such that the thumb of the gripping hand is in substantial alignment with said first imaginary line when said thumb is in a natural gripping position, and such that when a tip of said thumb is located at an intersection of the first and second imaginary lines, said tip of said thumb must move forward relative to said gripping hand to manipulate the first extremity, backward to manipulate the second extremity, sideways in one direction to manipulate the third extremity, and sideways in a direction opposite said one direction to manipulate the fourth extremity.
15. A method as defined in claim 14, further comprising the step of:
(i) programming the microprocessor to cause the recording device to play a recorded message responsive to a certain electrical command signal produced by a switch terminal when said switch terminal is engaged by a contact element in the first extremity of the rocker-pad for less than one second responsive to said first extremity being given a short tap of less than one second.
16. A method as defined in claim 15, further comprising the step of:
(j) programming the microprocessor to cause the recording device to pause its current activity responsive to a certain electrical command signal produced by a switch terminal when said switch terminal is engaged by a contact element in the second extremity of the rocker-pad for less than one second responsive to said second extremity being given a short tap of less than one second.
17. A method as defined in claim 16, further comprising the step of:
(k) programming the microprocessor to cause the recording device to select a previously recorded message responsive to a certain electrical command signal produced by a switch terminal when said switch terminal is engaged by a contact element in the third extremity of the rocker-pad for less than one second responsive to said third extremity being given a short tap of less than one second.
18. A method as defined in claim 17, further comprising the step of:
(l) programming the microprocessor to cause the recording device to advance to a following recorded message responsive to a certain electrical command signal produced by a switch terminal when said switch terminal is engaged by a contact element in the fourth extremity of the rocker-pad for less than one second responsive to said fourth extremity being given a short tap of less than one second.
19. A method as defined in claim 14, further comprising the step of:
(m) programming the microprocessor to cause the recording device to scan a first few seconds of any recorded messages responsive to a certain electrical command signal produced by a switch terminal when said switch terminal is engaged twice by a contact element in the first extremity of the rocker-pad within a time span of less than 1.5 seconds responsive to said first extremity being given two short taps within said time span of less than 1.5 seconds.
20. A method as defined in claim 19, further comprising the step of:
(n) programming the microprocessor to cause the recording device to select a first recorded message responsive to a certain electrical command signal produced by a switch terminal when said switch terminal is engaged twice by a contact element in the third extremity of the rocker-pad within a time span of less than 1.5 seconds responsive to said third extremity being given two short taps within said time span of less than 1.5 seconds.
21. A method as defined in claim 20, further comprising the step of:
(o) programming the microprocessor to cause the recording device to advance to a final recorded message responsive to a certain electrical command signal produced by a switch terminal when said switch terminal is engaged twice by a contact element in the fourth extremity of the rocker-pad within a time span of less than 1.5 seconds responsive to said fourth extremity being given two short taps within said time span of less than 1.5 seconds.
PCT/US1995/005054 1994-04-19 1995-04-18 Multidirectional switch assembly for hand held recording devices WO1995028711A1 (en)

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US08/229,570 1994-04-19

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EP0996125A1 (en) * 1998-10-23 2000-04-26 Alcatel Control apparatus and method for scanning and/or reproducing a medium
US6760696B1 (en) * 1998-01-07 2004-07-06 Microsoft Corporation Fast start voice recording and playback on a digital device
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