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Sirti Bestows Award of Honor
October 21, 2010. Billie Moreland, PhD, of Billie Moreland and Associates and Steve Simmons, PhD, E...

Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen
The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons cam...

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07/31/2007 - Triangle Welcomes Pacinian

The underlying technology of input devices hasn't changed much in twenty years, according to Jim Schlosser, CEO of Pacinian LLC. Pacinian has filed for a patent on new technology that will change that. Their technology will make input devices, like keyboards, easier to use, ultra-thin, more rugged, and easier to clean.

Pacinian, LLC, was formed by Jim Schlosser, CEO and Cody Peterson CTO. Their backgrounds are in the input device industry, and Peterson subsequently devised a new technology that is quite different from the structure of current input devices. At this time, input devices used for rapid data entry require individual keys using vertical travel and rubber domes that generate tactile feedback. This means that the current keyboards of laptops and hand-held devices are as thin as they can possibly become. This technology is nearly impossible to backlight, and many methods of cleaning will actually destroy the device. According to Schlosser, Pacinian’s new technology provides confirming tactile feedback to the surface of an input device without the need for vertical key travel and requiring no mechanical moving parts. The electronic components lie in sheet-like layers beneath a flat surface which makes the device potentially very rugged, and eminently cleanable. The user surface might be plastic, stainless steel, glass, or another material. Because the layers are translucent, the input device can be easily backlit. “The surface of the input device can take on the form factor of a desktop-like keyboard or be as minuscule as the smallest hand-held device,” says Schlosser.

Input devices using the new technology could easily emulate the look and feel exemplified by the electronic ticket kiosks at the airport, but Pacinian envisions a more satisfactory user interface. Although the “sheet of keys” could be completely flat, they envision texturing the surface to make the keys seem ‘real’. If the user is accustomed to hearing clicks, the apparent sound can be programmed in. The technology is “smart” enough to have an automated response to the desired ‘feel’ of the user. “There are so many features and benefits our technology offers that we believe our solution will offer those adopting a true competitive advantage” say Schlosser.

Pacinian moved into Sirti Suite 344 just last April. They have proven their concept and completed their first working prototype -- a single station product -- and are working on a multi-station prototype. They plan to partner with input device manufacturers and those integrating input devices into system level products. One of their major target markets is the mobile computing industry. Their goal for their company is to remain research and development specialists for the huge input device industry. They don't plan to become device manufacturers themselves. “We want to position ourselves as an enabling solution and remain lean,” says Schlosser.

Pacinian, LLC draws its name from the “pacinian corpuscle” which is an encapsulated receptor found in deep layers of the skin that senses vibratory pressure and touch. Pacinian’s tag line is "haptic touch technology", which means simulation of the sense of touch via computers. Haptics, the science of touch, lets computer users interact with virtual worlds by feel.

“We quit our day jobs in April. It was the right thing to do, and we are not looking back,” says Schlosser. “We believe so passionately that this technology will fix a big problem, we just had to ‘go for it.’ This technology is going to revolutionize the way people interact with input devices. Being part of Sirti is very beneficial because the Sirti support team is so good. The people here are an extension of our company. We feel fortunate to be doing this – we are living our dream.”

For more information, contact Jim Schlosser at (509) 343-6262, or e-mail to jschlosser@pacinian.com.

Billie Moreland
 
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