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Thread: Laptop trackpad

  1. #1
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    Laptop trackpad

    My employer recently ordered new laptops (HP) with trackpads. I use a mouthstick modified with conductive foam that has allowed it to work with smart phones and my iPad. Any reason why is does not work in this instance?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by landrover View Post
    My employer recently ordered new laptops (HP) with trackpads. I use a mouthstick modified with conductive foam that has allowed it to work with smart phones and my iPad. Any reason why is does not work in this instance?
    NL has a MacBook Pro. It has a track pad and the problem I have with using my hand device with a conductive foam tip is the various movements needed to perform certain tasks, i.e., scroll takes a two finger action. while a one finger action controls the cursor. There are other gestures that require more dexterity and different finger combinations. There may be some Accessibility preferences in you system preferences that you could use. I've never really investigated the scope of those features.

  3. #3
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    I’ve tried everything, but it won’t recognize the mouthstick.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by landrover View Post
    I?ve tried everything, but it won?t recognize the mouthstick.
    Touchpads can be built using different technologies.

    [I know the following sounds like an incredible kludge, but it may be worth a try to see if it works; then, we can look to designing a "better approach" based on that knowledge gained]

    You might try connecting a wire from the conductive foam (I assume "the black stuff"?) to your body. You could try jabbing one end of a (small, thin) wire into the foam block and wrapping the other end around your hand/arm/leg/etc. (unfortunately, I'm at a loss to come up with an example of such a wire that would likely be available in most homes) If this works, replacing the (plastic?) shaft of the mouthstick with something conductive might be the simple solution.

    If this does NOT work, ask a colleague if he/she can hold the mouthstick in their hand with the wire wrapped around it and repeat the test.If neither works, ask the colleague if they can press harder with the mouthstick (some touchpads rely on a minimum pressure to actuate)

    BTW, you do know that you can plug an external pointing device into the laptop and use that alongside the builtin device(s).

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...words=touchpad

    https://www.amazon.com/Origin-Instru.../dp/B0018S91E4

    HTH
    Last edited by automation; 09-30-2018 at 08:18 AM. Reason: Add suggestion for external pointing device alternatives

  5. #5
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    I had someone hold the mouth stick while using the trackpad, with no success. It seemed more pressure is needed then anything, but even then it is inconsistent. My employer ordered a Kensington trackball, which I use with my personal computer.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by landrover View Post
    I had someone hold the mouth stick while using the trackpad, with no success. It seemed more pressure is needed then anything, but even then it is inconsistent.
    That suggests it is a "resistive" touchpad (phones tend to be capacitive).

    Imagine two conductive sheets with a very small gap between them. Pressure deforms the upper sheet until it contacts the lower sheet.

    The sheets are made of a material that has a known "resistance per inch". So, if you read 2 inches worth of resistance, you know the contact point is 2 inches from the edge (which is where the connections to the circuitry lie).

    [This is a small lie but close enough for this discussion]

    Measure the resistance from left to right; then from top to bottom. You end up with a unique point on the plane indicative of the location of the "deformation".

    If you can't deform the upper material enough to contact the lower, then it appears (to the circuitry) that you aren't touching the surface!

  7. #7
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    Makes sense, because otherwise with the size and position of the pad, any inadvertent contact by typing would move the mouse.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by landrover View Post
    Makes sense, because otherwise with the size and position of the pad, any inadvertent contact by typing would move the mouse.
    This is actually a problem with some touchpads -- the heel of a palm hovering over the touchpad (and, inevitably, falling onto it) causes false actuations. Often, this "problem" is "solved" by putting a button above the touchpad that turns it OFF!

  9. #9
    What is your mouthstick made from?

  10. #10
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    Anodized aluminum I believe. I have a small piece of conductive foam at the tip, which allows it to work with smartphones and tablets.

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