Earlier this month the US Patent & Trademark Office published two digital pen applications from Samsung. The first invention reveals new built-in communication features relating to phone calls, as a future Samsung pen may function as a substitute for a wireless headset. The second invention reveals a brand new superior grip mechanism, as current digital pens are usually too narrow to hold comfortably.
Samsung's Patent Background
Input devices for inputting information through touch screens, such as stylus pens, are useful in some portable terminals. When the tip of an input device ("manipulation member") contacts a touch screen, the portable terminal is driven or information desired by a user is input. Recent portable terminals employ customized pen-like input devices for inputting a user's handwritten notes, where the portable terminal recognizes and organizes the notes and so forth.
A tradeoff exists between the size of a display and convenience in use as a hand held phone, e.g., cell phone. For example, by using a portable terminal such as a tablet PC, a user can easily use a multimedia function while carrying the portable terminal, but it is becoming inconvenient to perform a voice communication due to a large size thereof. Accordingly, wireless headsets, for example, through Bluetooth based on wireless near field communications are becoming widely used so that a voice communication function of a portable terminal can be easily implemented. However, a drawback of the wireless headset is that it needs to be carried separately, and coupled with a larger portable terminal to carry, the user's convenience is compromised.
To overcome the disadvantages of the wireless headset, efforts to integrate a pen-like input device (a "pen", for brevity) and a wireless headset are being made. With this approach, a microphone, a speaker, and short range communication electronics are each integrated within the pen. A short range communication protocol, e.g., Bluetooth, is established between the pen and the portable terminal. Thus the user is able to mount the pen to a shirt pocket or the like and communicate in a phone call using the portable terminal as a base. That is, the pen functions as a substitute for a wireless headset.
New Samsung Pen Inventions: Communication Functionality in a Digital Pen
Samsung's first invention generally relates to an input device for a portable terminal. More particularly, it relates to a hand held input device for inputting information on a portable terminal touch screen, and having a microphone and speaker for short range communication with the portable terminal in a wireless headset function.
The input device includes a housing configured with at least first and second spaced apart microphone holes formed therein. A transmitting/receiving (T/R) module is disposed inside the housing and coupled to a microphone element and to a speaker. The T/R module transmits/receives communication signals to and from the portable terminal. A sound transferring part is provided within the housing to transfer sounds to the microphone element via a plurality of air pathways connected to the first and second microphone holes.
An input module for inputting touch commands to the portable terminal may be mounted at a near side of the housing, while the T/R module for performing near field Bluetooth communications with the portable terminal may be provided behind the input module within the housing. The input device may include a stylus pen.
In accordance with another aspect, an input device for a portable terminal includes a T/R module provided inside the input device and to which a microphone element and a speaker are electrically coupled to implement near field Bluetooth communications. A sound transferring part forms a plurality of paths for providing sounds to the microphone element. The sound transferring part may be formed of a rubber material.
New Samsung Pen Inventions: Superior Grip Design
According to Samsung, various sizes and types of stylus pens having a similar shape are used to be attachable/detachable to/from the electronic device. However, a stylus pen whose size (length and diameter) is smaller is not easy for a user to grip and use.
Accordingly, an aspect of Samsung's second digital pen invention is to provide a stylus pen configured such that it is easily gripped by extending its grip. It's to provide a stylus pen configured such that extension of a length and a grip is naturally induced with only an operation of drawing the stylus pen from an electronic device, and an electronic device having the same.
In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, a stylus pen for inputting data of an electronic device includes: a cylinder housing having at least one grip receiving hole at one end; a moving body slidably disposed within the cylinder housing; a head coupled to the moving body via an opening at the one end of the cylinder housing; and at least one grip disposed within the cylinder housing and selectively protruding outwardly through the at least one grip receiving hole depending on a movement of the head and the moving body.
The moving body includes a body of a predetermined length fixed with the head, a connection stand extending from the body up to the grip portion, and at least one support piece protruding from the connection stand and formed to have an area wider than the connection stand, wherein at least one protruding contact protrusion is formed on an inner side of the grip to protrude the grip in such a way that the support piece selectively pressurizes the contact protrusion via a contact depending on movement of the moving body.
The stylus pen further includes an interrupt means for preventing the grip from being arbitrarily protruded to an outside from a position maximally inserted into the cylinder housing. The interrupt means includes an elastic unit including a body fixed inside the grip and a plate spring extending from the body by a predetermined length, and a cam formed on the connection stand of the moving body and having a through hole for receiving the plate spring to selectively support the plate spring of the elastic unit depending on movement of the moving body.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, an electronic device in which the stylus pen having the above-described construction so that it is detachable from a mount hole disposed in a main body is installed is provided. A hooking protrusion protrudes from an inner side of the stylus pen mount hole, and a hooking recess is formed along an outer periphery of a tip of the stylus pen to allow the stylus pen to be temporarily hooked or stopped when the stylus pen is attached/detached to/from the mount hole, and allow force by which the hooking protrusion is hooked at the hooking recess to be stronger than force drawing the head from the cylinder housing, so that the grip is protruded/inserted from/to the cylinder housing by drawing the head before completely drawing the stylus pen from the mount hole.
The US Patent Office published two Samsung digital pen patent applications earlier this month. Samsung filed both of their new digital pen related patent applications back in Q3 2013 in the US and a year earlier in Korea. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Also see our Feb 17, 2014 report:
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