US 9,811,173 B2
Computer input devices and associated computing devices, software, and methods
Gregory A. Shaver, Springfield, OR (US); David S. D'Ascenzo, Portland, OR (US); and Ian D. Gates, Portland, OR (US)
Assigned to RAKUTEN, INC., Tokyo (JP)
Filed by Rakuten, Inc., Tokyo (JP)
Filed on Sep. 19, 2013, as Appl. No. 14/32,074.
Application 14/032,074 is a division of application No. 12/769,888, filed on Apr. 29, 2010, granted, now 8,552,980.
Claims priority of provisional application 61/174,089, filed on Apr. 30, 2009.
Prior Publication US 2014/0019906 A1, Jan. 16, 2014
Int. Cl. G06F 3/0346 (2013.01)
CPC G06F 3/0346 (2013.01) [G06F 2203/04101 (2013.01)] 21 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. A mouse, comprising:
a housing comprising a first portion and a second portion;
a spring positioned inside the housing and connected at opposite ends thereof to the first portion and the second portion and configured to bias the first portion away the second portion;
a detector adapted to detect relative movement of the first portion in x- and y-dimensions relative to a base point in a base plane, and further adapted to detect relative movement of the second portion in a z-dimension relative to the base point;
a controller in communication with the detector and adapted to send signals to an associated computing device based at least in part on the relative movement of the first portion and the second portion;
a structure extending downward and coupled to an inside bottom portion of the second portion of the housing, and
a plurality of detents formed in the structure and positioned along the z-dimension of the structure,
wherein the relative movement of the second portion in the z-dimension is independent of the movement in the x- and y-dimensions;
wherein the first portion of the housing includes a base portion,
wherein the second portion of the housing includes an activation portion,
wherein the activation portion is configured to move the second portion, via application of an external force to the activation portion, in two directions in the z-dimension relative to the base portion,
wherein the detector is further adapted to detect relative movement of the second portion within a set of discrete strata of space defined by the structure, wherein each stratum of the discrete strata of space is defined by one of the plurality of detents and spaced apart from the base plane in the z-dimension,
wherein the z-dimension is manipulated by application of a downward force to the activation portion of the mouse to a user selected position corresponding to one of the plurality of detents,
wherein the second portion remains in the selected position when the downward force is no longer applied to the activation portion.