View Full Version : Thumb board brainstorming
08-09-2006, 09:28 AM
I've been thinking about a thumbboard for the 770. Here's some thoughts, share yours. (Perhaps someone with some fabrication/electronics experience can indulge in making one)
Here are some things I've thought of:
- A form factor roughly half the side of the 770 (split down the length) that would mate with the 770 via either the USB port or headphone jack or both. The protruding part housing the ports could prevent twisting. Something else will be needed to anchor it to the device, maybe a 1/2 inch long sleeve that the 770 can slide into.
- Input via either the USB port (which would require software drivers and a power source (see thoughtfix's USB hub) or the speaker jack. The speaker jack? It supports those mic/headphone combos... if the device sent a signal of differing pitch to the jack, a driver could read this and input it as a keystroke. A passthrough headphone jack could be located on the bottom of the KB. So far as the USB method goes, if the thumbboard accessory had another jack on it, the thumbboard's internal batteries could be a combo powered USB hub/thumbboard. I like the USB hub combo method better.
- Ports would be blocked. Aside from the microphone, the other three could have passthroughs available. There don't seem to be any useable surfaces to mate a KB to (sides are too awkward and there are often-used buttons up top)
Anyone up for brainstorming?
08-09-2006, 10:07 AM
Why not mate via bluetooth? Then none of the ports would have to be blocked. I'm no expert, but I'm sure that designing the hardware/software involved to make a keyboard interface through the headphone jack would take a LOT of time/effort.
08-09-2006, 12:24 PM
Price. There are mini BT keyboards out there already but they'd be hella awkward during a bus ride.
I would definitely want it to have the 770 dock with it in one way or another so it becomes a single unit. After all, the whole point is to walk around with it and not have anything flimsy. someone mocked this up a few months ago and I think this would be a good direction.
That is what I was thinking but add a battery for usb host power-up and rs-mmc->SD/CF converter (maybe even a full size usb port for thumbdrive)
08-10-2006, 10:05 AM
Luna: From what I remember, the RSMMC card won't be detected if the cover is open. You could probably file it off and push in the hinge to trigger the switch (if that's the case) but then it'd be exposed all the time.
That picture is exactly what I had in mind, using the cover as a stabilizer is an excellent idea.
Will USB keyboards work? Might just be a matter of dissecting an off the shelf product and packaging it right.
08-14-2006, 01:19 AM
This idea is purely brillaint. I would love the idea of a thumb-board. Don't get me wrong, I've gotten rather used to the on-screen thumb board, but I want something that allows more control while at the same time allowing me to have a full screen.
Has anybody had a chat with Nokia about this?
08-14-2006, 09:35 AM
Well, they lurk here I'm sure. :) I used to have no issues with the onscreen KB until I got wireless working on my Fedora Core laptop and started using a real keyboard again.
I guess there were two things I wanted to do:
(1) If a USB keyboard will work with the 770, gut it, put it into a smaller form factor with the switches hooked up to thumbkeys and that (2) slides into the cover for stability.
i guess the 770 is really a beta product seeing how scant the accessories that are out there from Nokia. I mean, you can't even buy a replacement cover from them. I really wish someone there would kick some executive to introduce this though.
08-16-2006, 02:51 PM
Yeah seriously. I'd said a while back that a 'modular' approach would kick ***. Basically a self powered USB HDD. (Kind of like my 40GB mp3 player *cough*). A self powered USB webcam. Etc, etc. I can understand Nokia not wanting to jump into the peripherals market 'cause that's a HUGE undertaking but given they did something right by not making all of those bells & whistles integrated, now it's the time for add-ons.
What I *want* to do (but need to research more) is gut an existing USB keyboard (haven't found any USB thumbboards), and cram the guts into something like the picture you previously posted. Voila. Problem is nobody is really piping up, but guaranteed if it was completed and pics were posted this thread would nail 500 posts in a day. *sigh* :rolleyes:
08-16-2006, 07:06 PM
I do think Nokia is missing out on a huge accessory market. I would probably spend more time on the idea, but the 770 is such a small market due to Nokia's incompetence on marketing and finding a market for this device.
There are bluetooth thumb boards out there, but they're either too small at 3.5" long, or too long at 9-10" long. Something that could slide onto the 770 and either flip out like the Cingular 8125/T-Mobile MDA, or something I could carry with, and just slide onto the bottom of the 770 would be perfect for on the go stuff. Using the on screen keyboard, whether pen or thumb, just sucks after a while. This device, especially with OS 2006, is capable of so much more.
Wake up, Nokia.
08-17-2006, 04:00 AM
I've changed my mind: I'm not sure the market's *that* small, TBH - I just don't think the majority of users/hackers are concentrating on the device. The 770 was recently compared with Sony's Mylo, and the related /. article seemed to have lots of people commenting on their 770.
Of course, thoughtfix was included, so perhaps it was just all of us decamping to /. temporarily :-)
08-17-2006, 09:26 AM
I saw his comment, though considering the chilly reception /. readers gave it in the first place, I'm surprised about the turnaround.
In the Slashdot world, Nokia > Sony it appears.
08-17-2006, 07:02 PM
In the Slashdot world, Nokia > Sony it appears.
Ever since that rootkit issue, Sony's standings in the geek crowd plummeted.
08-18-2006, 10:11 AM
I'd tried Starwars Galaxies (a friend roped me into it)... I bought a 3 month chunk of time, scanned the EULA and saw the typical "We'll change the game, if you cry tough crap" disclaimers, etc. If you don't login for 30 days the account goes inactive... So, bored with that POS game, I let my account expire. And got a bill for another 3 month chunk of time. Burried on their website was a clause stating that unless you specifically cancel, you are rebilled whether the account is inactive or not. They may have gotten US$55 out of me, but they've lost hundreds in other stuff where I've deliberately gone with a different brand... even if it had lower specs. I still have a few square inches of my butt reserved if they'd like to kiss it. But I'll never get anything made by Sony again.
Typical keyboards work via what's called a scanning matrix, the output from which is fed to an encoder which translates the signal into something the computer will understand.
The matrix is laid out kinda like the game battleship:
. 1 2 3
1 A G R
2 L M N
3 E C Z
Basically if the key(switch) 1,3 is closed, an R will result. If 3,2 is closed, a C will result. Reading up on MAME cabinets people have made leads to some problems, blocking & ghosting. These only occur if multiple keys are pressed at once (excluding ALT, SHIFT, CTRL modifiers) which I don't think will be an issue.
Pin 25 on the PCB is ground and everything must lead to it. The other 24 pins represent "co-ordinate" locations of the matrix. Now, assuming I could gut a USB keyboard with a PCB small enough to fit into the proposed thumbboard case, there would be a TONNE of soldering wires from the PCB to the buttons. I think it'd be messy inside but it would fit. Popping a battery in there too would be really hard (I think toughtfix's plans call for a 9 volt). I don't think the slide-in-case design is going to work real-estate-wise. I think making the case the same shape as the 770 but a little wider (so the 770 slides into it and not the other way around) is the way to go.
Basically, looks possible.
vBulletin® v3.8.7, Copyright ©2000-2013, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.