Back in August 2015 Patently Apple covered a European Apple patent filing that pointed to force touch being applied to future devices such as a touchpad, display or magic mouse. Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent specifically for a future Magic Mouse with integrated force touch sensors.
The Magic Mouse with Force Touch will be bringing the same new experience that Apple brought to the new MacBook's Force Touch trackpad. The Force Touch based Magic Mouse is engineered to deliver a responsive, uniform click no matter where you press the surface. And underneath, force sensors detect how much pressure you're applying and give you new ways to interact with your Mac. You'll be able to use a Force click to enable new capabilities, like quickly looking up the definition of a word or previewing a file just by clicking and continuing to press on the Magic Mouse surface. You'll experience this through haptic feedback — a tactile vibration from the mouse that adds the sense of touch to what you see on the screen. These advanced capabilities work in addition to all the intuitive Multi-Touch gestures Mac users love. You'll be more in touch with your Mac than ever before - Without lifting a finger.
Granted Patent: Force Sensing Mouse
Apple's newly granted patent generally relates to systems and methods for providing force sensing input devices. A force sensing input device (such as a force sensing mouse) may include at least one force sensor and at least one top portion movably connected (such as pivotally and/or otherwise rotatably connected via one or more pivot, one or more ball joint elements, and/or other such pivotal connection elements) to at least one bottom portion. When a force is applied to the top portion, the top portion may exert pressure on the force sensor. The force sensor may obtain force data based upon the pressure. The amount of force applied to the top portion, within a range of force amounts, may be determined from at least the force data (such as by the force sensing input device or by an electronic device to which the force sensing input device transmits the force data).
In this way, a broader range of inputs may be receivable from the force sensing input device as compared to input devices that merely detect whether or not a button or similar element has been pushed.
Apple's patent FIG. 1B is an exploded isometric view of the force sensing mouse; FIG. 2 is a flow chart illustrating a method for determining an amount of force applied to a force sensing input device. This method may be performed utilizing the force sensing mouse.
Apple's granted patent 9,304,587 was originally filed in Q1 2013 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
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