Trackpad or pointer stick for productivity in Android and Windows apps

Yes, they could be used. However, the TextBlade was a solution the the problem of migrating from a Windows laptop computer to an Android smartphone or phablet pocket computer for ultralight international travel.

Besides not being able to get the TB in my hands yet (for which I have cancelled my order), by the time I cobble together hardware solutions that were designed for use with laptops and tablets, I’m actually lugging around more pieces of gear that are all together heavier than the laptop I’m trying to replace. And, the kicker is I’m still no where nearly as productive on any android tablet as I am on my old, yet very functional Windows 7 machine – a very capable Acer 1830T 11.6" laptop with core i7 processor that, with SSD, is just at 3lbs and only cost less than $300 total! I actually find the mini trackpad on these machines more productive as I can reach anywhere on the screen with one movement of my thumb, whereas the same movement on a larger track pad can often require multiple movements.

The suggestions of solutions need to keep things in context. If I have to lug around separate trackpads, wireless mice, etc. that are bigger and heavier than what I can purchase now on Amazon for under $16 (bluetooth keyboard with trackpad for windows/android @ 9.3oz), then I’ll say thanks, but no deal. I just received and am now testing such a device that provides me a working keybaord AND multi-touch trackpad for not much more weight than this keyboard-only TextBlade.

In the end, the solution for me lies in the next iteration of the Lenovo (NEC) LaVie series of i7 laptops at under 2lbs. But until they get teh battery life closer to 10 hours, I’m not plunking down $1500 for one – not yet.

I would have like to think I could just pair a TextBlade and ultra-mini/ultra-light trackpad to my smartphone for the ultimate in pocket travel, but until I find a 2"x3" bluetooth multi-touch trackpad for under 3oz and under $50, I don’t think I’ll do better than this little $16 bluetooth keyboard. It doesn’t fold, but it will fit nicely into my 17 liter backpack. And that, for now, is about as close as I’ll get to my ideal solution.

So while waiting for my TB I ordered I bought a Microsoft Arc mouse. It makes for a great setup with a normal keyboard, but with the TB i will have full, nice bluetooth K/M ready for a tablet partner. (phone is cool, but i want a bigger workstation replacement).

Well, a mouse gives cursor control and buttons. But with today’s touch devices – even laptops – I need something with multi-touch gestures, pinch-zoom functionality, and two finger scrolling – all things I’ve had in my laptops for years.

Today’s hardware engineers just assume, I guess, that it’s not big deal for a user to move his hand away from the keyboard, taking his fingers off the keys, to reposition the cursor, zoom the display, or scroll the display. I believe that to be a great oversight. I don’t use my fingers on the screen when using a Win8 laptop. I stick to the touchpad. I need a input peripheral setup that doesn’t expect me to move my hands back to the screen for cursor movement, zooming and scrolling.

It’s interesting mouse, but not what I need unfortunately.

Please, no pointer sticks on the TextBlade - keep it simple KISS. Pointers are a polarizing device, imo. People either love them, or do not want. I have a laptop as my work pc, and it has a built in pointer stick and trackpad - both are disabled.

There are a ton of peripherals available, especially if you have a USB port available - that opens up bluetooth (if not built in) or radio pairing. Mouse, trackpads are available in many flavors.

For those looking to an alternative to touch screens, there is the Rapoo T8 multi touch mouse. It can do elementary scroll and zoom functions. Too bad it is not bluetooth. I would also warn people that the Rapoo takes some getting used to as the single/double/right mouse clicks are all multi touch dependent (they are probably like Apple touchpad gestures, alien to PC people like me, lol)

I know there is a vertical distance problem with the space blade if one wanted to use it as a trackpad, but I wonder if it might not work out anyway. Be able to tell better when I actually have one, but I figure this way - yep, to go from the bottom of a screen to the top may require dragging my finger several times. That isn’t good, but I don’t look at it that way. I’m thinking more like “is it better sometimes than having to drag out another device?” I think it could be. And if you had settings for how much the cursor moved compared to you finger, for some people it may work out well. And for those who it doesn’t work for, well, they never have to turn that ability on.

Might even set the sensitivity separately for vertical and horizontal (more room). Have to actually try something like that to see if it works well though.

Next, and this may not be possible with iOS, etc, would be if you could use such a trackpad approach to create and move a cursor on an iPhone, etc - then tap to activate whatever it is on. So you wouldn’t have to reach out to tap something on the screen directly.

A nice implementation for vertical scrolling would be to use the speed of youre upward swipe on the space blade to set the scroll speed and then continue to scroll until you lift your finger. Also, Apple has implemented cursor movement in iOS 9 using3D touch on the 6s and 6s plus. A deep press on the onscreen keyboard turns it into a trackpad.

Interesting, @dabigkahuna, and I believe you are not alone or the first to suggest graphic cursor control in this forum. I believe that the SpaceBlade, because it contains a battery, is and would be unable to sense x-y fingertip motion. The wedge-shaped gap between the canted TextBlades seems to me a possible location for an add-on track nub. At 64, my lifestyle is not mainstream–cell phone, yes, but not a smart one. My desktop has a wireless keyboard and I look forward to only occasionally pairing a wireless keyboard with an iPad Pro. I haven’t delved into researching the differences between add-on keyboards for Microsoft & Apple tablets, primarily the inclusion of a trackpad for the Surface. Customer demand should ultimately prove the necessity for an isolated means of cursor control for a mobile touch device, but until then, I tend to favor touching the screen. Voice recognition can evolve, rendering most peripherals obsolete.

Maybe not, but during my reading of all the WT posts, I thought I saw them comment about the problem being the vertical range of the space blade. Now, I wasn’t reading carefully for that kind of info at the time so I may have missed a lot, but if the problem was view as the range, that would imply that it was at least possible otherwise.

What I meant was that there are no multiple sensing zones across the working surface of the SpaceBlade–in any direction. I took it upon myself to doubt that it shall ever be multitouch. Let’s imagine that a space bar, no matter its surface dimensions, may be employed as a trackpad. Should I remove both hands from home position on the keys to depress the bar with one finger, while using a finger from my other hand to trace upon its (limited) surface area? When TextBlade is paired with a mobile device, why should I not reach out to touch the display itself? My understanding is that the SpaceBlade presently behaves as a space bar, with the exception of enabling the green layer when held down. Other people have suggested that the key surfaces, containing three zones per key, somehow be employed as a crude trackpad sensing grid. At this time in the year, I look forward to the product as originally envisioned and implemented by its inventor. Future mobile devices can watch my eyes, detecting where my gaze falls, then interpret a click when I wink one of them. I appreciate brainstorming, for when anything goes, sometimes kernels with great potential arise. Our commentary may grow a new product from WayTools.

Well, kinda depends on how you look at it. If using with a computer, it means I don’t have to reach for my mouse. As for my iPad, I would usually be sitting back and reaching for the screen may well be an arm’s length away - which also makes control the hand less precise, unless I slide up on my chair to shorten the distance. I may also have the iPad or phone using airplay to show on a bigger screen and thus be even further away.

In any case, it would, as I envision it, just be an option people could turn on if they wished.

Don’t stop there! Speculate upon how it can be implemented! We know that TextBlade contains arrow keys to reposition the cursor within a body of text. My impression is that despite having a mouse or trackpad handy, you wish similar functionality from TextBlade. I tend to use what is simple and intuitive–how can TextBlade trump my computer trackpad? Oh. Okay, this just in… My new TV came with a motion-sensing remote. A pink blob appears on the television display when I move or shake the remote. Then it’s a simple matter of manipulating the remote to guide the blob, then click a button on the remote. What if we just pick up the keyboard and wave it in the air to guide the cursor? Tap the space bar to invoke a left click! Hmm, I’d still reach for my trackpad, unless nothing else was available. I really, really like the idea of a fixed nub with variable pressure sensing on-screen vectoring.

WT has said there are zones in the SpaceBlade and that is how some of the layers are triggered. It is capacitive just like all the other keys.

@dabigkahuna and @Jim, please forgive me. I referenced some photographs and patents, finding no visual clues as to the configuration of the capacitive sensing foil under the SpaceBlade surface. Portions of text from US patent 8,414,207 B1 follow…
Additionally, all or part of the surface 306 may be provided with underlying capacitive sensors to detect gesture input. Gestures may be recognized by interpreting readings at the different capacitive sensor locations over time and comparing the signature of these readings to a reference in a database residing either in the keyboard or the host. A specific function can be assigned to each signature that is recognized. Such functions can include control modes and settings local to the keyboard, or the host. A specific function can be assigned to each signature that is recognized. Such functions can include control modes and settings local to the keyboard, or inputs to the host such as pinch-to-zoom, swipe-to-scroll or other gestures commonly used on today’s touch pad computing devices.
Additionally, flex circuit 1202 can provide capacitive sensing for gesture detection. The placement of the flex circuit in the spacebar immediately below the cover permits gesture sensing on the surface of the spacebar, as the capacitive detection occurs without depression of the spacebar.

Imagine all that could be done if magic firmware we’re open sourced…


Already works with IOS and Android. I have one and love it.

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As far as I understand it, it only works if your in an app that remotely controls your PC and supports an external mouse…