The TRS-80 Touch Pad is a versatile, state-of-the-art accessory that enhances the capabilities of any home computer system.
Date : July 1984
With its pressure sensitive surface, the Touch Pad can convert the touch of its stylus or even your finger - to computer input. Depending on the applications program you are using, the Touch Pad can be used to make menu selections, move game players, make musical notes, draw computer graphics and much more.
Features of the TRS-80 Touch Pad
This surface is pressure sensitive and can be used with either the stylus provided or your finger The Touch Pad's internal circuitry converts pressure on the surface to location information that is sent to your computer.
These buttons may be used to confirm menu selections and data entries or as trigger controllers for computer games.
The stylus provided with your Touch Pad is specially designed to be used on the pressure sensitive drawing surface.
THe TRS-80 unit was actually The KoalaPad which was a graphics tablet produced from 1984 by U.S. company Koala Technologies for several early 8-bit home computers, including the Apple II family, TRS-80 Color Computer (TRS-80 Touch Pad), Atari 8-bit family, and Commodore 64, as well as for the IBM PC.
Originally designed by Dr. David Thornburg as a low-cost computer drawing tool for schools, the Koala Pad and the bundled drawing program, KoalaPainter, was very popular with home users as well (KoalaPainter was called KoalaPaint in some versions for the Apple II, and PC Design for the IBM PC). A program called Graphics Exhibitor was included for creating slideshow presentations from KoalaPainter drawings.
The pad was four inches square (i.e. roughly 10×10 cm) and mounted on a slightly inclined base with the back of the pad higher than the front. At the top, "behind" the pad, were two buttons. The pad hooked into the computer using the analog signals of the joystick ports (the so-called "paddle" inputs), which meant that it had a fairly low resolution and tended to jostle the cursor if moved during use.
Instead of the drawing stylus, the pad could as easily be operated by the user's fingers for less precision-demanding work, such as selecting between menu items (i.e. using the pad as a kind of "indirect touch screen").
The top-mounted buttons tended to be somewhat frustrating to use, as the user had to "reach around" the stylus to push the buttons in order to start or stop drawing. A similar tablet from Atari, the "Atari CX77 Touch Tablet", addressed this with a built-in button on the stylus, which some enterprising users adapted for use with their KoalaPad.
Our unit is complete with the original box and owner's manual
Manufacturer : Tandy
This exhibit has a reference ID of CH21962. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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