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A BIG HAND FOR A LITTLE KEYPAD

TECHNOLOGY HAS A WAY of shrinking things, but the human hand isn't getting any smaller. How to let those big digits work with tiny computers? David Levy, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad student, has invented a miniature keypad that squeezes the alphabet and 10 numbers, plus a few other functions, onto an area the size of a credit card. Each domed key on Levy's device is half the size of a regular key. But the real ingenuity is placing the numbers at the spot where the corners of four keys meet. By depressing all four keys at once, that number is keyed in.

Levy has a patent pending on the keypad, which won this year's Lemelson prize for the best invention by an MIT student. The prize bestows $30,000, but Levy may see an even larger return from Corporate America. Greg Blonder, director of research at AT&T, says the telecom giant has taken a look at the keypad for next-generation cellular phones and other handheld electronic devices.

EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG By Paul Judge


Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.
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