Hi Bob,

Am 02.05.2012 um 10:30 schrieb Bob Ham:

> On Tue, 2012-05-01 at 18:06 +0200, Dr.H.NikolausS wrote:
>> we have developed a prototype for a 80 button QWERTY keyboard PCB
>> that could eventually be connected/integrated into the GTA04
> This is some good work and the PCB looks like it will be useful.
> However, I think it may be premature to start designing keyboard
> circuits.

Well, the circuit itself was already part of the GTA04 schematics so it
was not too difficult to extract that into an external PCB. And once designed
it is easy to move the buttons a little around before it goes into mass
production. So that it fits the case.

> I think the really important issue in developing a hardware keyboard is
> in the physical design; the arrangement of keys, how the shape of keys

The arrangement of keys is more or less standardized, so there isn't
much room for experimentation.

> effects ease of typing, how the keyboard is integrated into the case,
> etc.  In order to develop case designs that include a keyboard, we must

Yes, shape effects ease of typing. But also do the mechanical properties of
the electric contacts. I.e. what their contact force is. You can only test that
with having the electronics ready (at least in a prototype status).

> first have designs for cases without a keyboard :-)

Well, but what do you do if you design a keyboard where the mechanical
switches are not available? Part of the experiment was to test how well
these Panasonic things work, how easily they can be soldered, what they
impose as the minimum distance between buttons.

I.e. you can't do one without the other. And have to start somewhere...

And, the shape of the keycaps can be changed and optimized. That is the
good thing with 3D printing.

> At present, we do not have this.  As I understand it, Slyon's cases do
> not fit together properly and so we cannot build a complete GTA04 case
> from them yet (has this changed?)  There are also no case component kits
> available.

The key missing part is the UMTS pentaband antenna. There are
antenna modules out there (e.g. Antenova) but those are too big.

> I think it would be more advantageous to spend time dealing with these
> basic problems.  That way, we will have a solid base from which to build
> more advanced designs, including designs that incorporate a keyboard.

That time will be spent anyways. But without having this prototype, it wasn't
clear if we could head for a case variant with keys at all.

Usually in product design the electronics (and availability of components)
imposes more constraints so that design follows function. I.e. a good industrial
designer creates clothing for the internals. If you ask a designer to draw a
sketch and then try to build electronics inside, you can no longer use standard
components. Well, if you are Apple or Samsung, you can break this rule and
set the standard for new components.

But it is still useful to draw such sketches to know what we want...

I.e. both parts are important and none can do without the other.

> Also, I believe we should not limit ourselves to the existing case
> shape.  I will say more about that in a separate email to the GTA04
> list.

Yes, please do! Ideas are always welcome.

> -- 
> Bob Ham <r...@settrans.net>
> Diaspora: r...@pod.settrans.net
> for (;;) { ++pancakes; }

You could do pancakes+=2; :)


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