Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals techniques for forming an environmental seal around a sensor disposed beneath the button cap of the Home Button on iOS devices. Today we present two of Apple's patent filings that show the level of detail Apple puts into creating their products so that they function just right and always look their best.
Apple notes that "One may appreciate that foreign matter above, proximate, or below the sensor may interfere with capacitive coupling between the sensor and the ridges and valleys of the user's finger, which in turn may cause the two dimensional fingerprint information read by the sensor to be inaccurate, which in turn may cause the electronic device to incorrectly reject a user's fingerprint, or in other cases, incorrectly authenticate some other person's fingerprint as the user. In such a case, the interior volume of the component assembly may be sealed with an environmental seal to prevent ingress of foreign matter that may interfere with operation of both the button and the sensor.
In certain embodiments, the environmental seal may be disposed along the edges of the button cap, bonding it with the internal sidewalls of an aperture within the component assembly. In certain other embodiments, the environmental seal may be disposed upon a shelf within the aperture supporting the button cap along its perimeter. In further embodiments, the environmental seal may be disposed proximate edges of the sensor itself such that the sensor is bonded with at least a portion of the internal sidewalls of the aperture within the component assembly. In certain designs in which the sensor takes a rectangular shape, the environmental seal may be disposed along the four corners of the sensor."
Apple's patent FIG. 3 noted above is a top plan view of a portion of button assembly for receiving an environmental seal; FIG. 4A is an isometric side view of an exploded button assembly showing a button cap and a first portion of the environmental seal; FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary process of providing a two-part environmental seal.
Apple patent application 20160131505 was filed in Q1 2016. This is tweaked application based on Apple's February 2016 granted patent 9,254,633. Of course the detail doesn't stop at this one step behind the Home Button. Apple has dozens of inventions covering the biometrics behind the Home Button and you could always review them in our biometrics archive here.
As consumers we don't always appreciate Apple's fine detailing to make something work just right. The work behind getting the fingerprint sensors into the Home Button and to protect it just right is mind boggling when you get into the details that few know about.
In another patent filing today we learn about another invention showing the levels that Apple will go to get their iDevices looking their best. All displays use various layers of technology that are compressed into a single sheet. These layers are compressed with rollers in machinery. Well, it appears that the standard rollers weren't good enough for Apple who decided to reinvent them so as to perform at a maximum level to ensure the quality they demand.
Apple's patent FIG. 8 noted above is a perspective view of an illustrative pressure-sensing cleaning roller in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. For more information on this invention, click here.
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