It was certainly an Apple Watch day at the US Patent & Trademark Office. Our report covers seven patents related to Apple Watch. The two key patents cover Apple Watch sensors that could automatically detect what limb a wearable device is being worn so as to activate the right medical sensors while the second patent covers an Apple Watch design with a circular interface. Considering the circular Apple Watch invention was only filed after the Apple Watch launched, the circular design has to be taken as a serious back-up design or plan. The other Apple watch patents cover inductive charging, a multimode pedestrian odometer, water proofing and the use of a fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composite for construction. The last Apple Watch patent is about environmental sensors which could help to detect a gas leak or carbon monoxide/dioxide and dangerous biological substances in the home or a problem on the factory floor.
Detecting the Limb Wearing a Wearable Electronic Device
In this first Apple Watch patent, Apple notes that wearable devices can be worn on a limb of a user, such as on the wrist, arm, ankle, or leg. Knowing whether the electronic device is worn on the left or right limb can be helpful or necessary information for some portable electronic devices or applications. For example, it can be necessary to know whether the electronic device is worn on a left or right limb when the electronic device includes one or more biometric applications, such as an electrocardiography application or a medical measurement or diagnostic application.
As one example, the wearable electronic device can be implemented as a wearable health assistant that provides health-related information (whether real-time or not) to the user, authorized third parties, and/or an associated monitoring device. The device may be configured to provide health-related information or data such as, but not limited to, heart rate data, blood pressure data, temperature data, blood oxygen saturation level data, diet/nutrition information, medical reminders, health-related tips or information, or other health-related data. The associated monitoring device may be, for example, a tablet computing device, phone, personal digital assistant, computer, and so on.
In one aspect, a wearable electronic device can include one or more position sensing devices and a processing device. A processor-implemented method for determining a limb wearing the wearable electronic device can include receiving one or more signals from at least one position sensing device for a given period of time, and analyzing at least one signal to determine the limb wearing the wearable electronic device.
In one embodiment, one or more limb gestures and/or a limb positions may be recognized and the limb wearing the electronic device is determined based on the recognized limb gesture(s) and/or position(s). Examples of position sensing devices include, but are not limited to, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and/or a magnetometer. The at least one signal can be processed by the processing device prior to analyzing the signal or signals. For example, a histogram can be produced, or a two-dimensional or three-dimensional plot can be created based on the at least one signal. In one embodiment, a pattern recognition algorithm can be performed on the at least one signal to determine which limb of the user is wearing the electronic device.
In another aspect, an electronic device that can be worn on a limb of a user can include a processing device and one or more position sensing devices operatively connected to the processing device. The processing device may be adapted to determine which limb of the user is wearing the electronic device based on one or more signals received from at least one position sensing device. In one embodiment, one or more limb gestures and/or a limb positions may be recognized and the limb wearing the electronic device is determined based on the recognized limb gesture(s) and/or position(s).
Apple's patent FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate a wearable electronic device on or near the right wrist and the left wrist of a user; FIG. 14 is a flowchart of an example method for determining a limb wearing a wearable electronic device.
See Apple's patent application 20160349803 for more details. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Electronic Device Having Display with Curved Edges
Apple's patent figures noted above illustrate both rectangle and circular smartwatch designs with definite emphasis on a circular design. In patent FIG. 9 we're able to see a perspective view of an illustrative bent substrate having traces that resist cracking.
In this second Apple Watch patent, the key to it is the filing date. Apple introduced Apple Watch on September 14, 2014 and launched it officially in April 2015. Today's revelation by the U.S. Patent Office is that one of Apple's Directors (Chang) along with senior panel designers (Tsung-Ting and Yu Cheng) and others filed this Apple Watch invention showing a circular watch interface design originally in June 2015 or two full months after the rectangular Apple Watch debuted.
Apple's engineers note in their filing that "Pixel arrays often have rectangular shapes. However, rectangular pixel arrays will not fit efficiently within a device having a circular shape. Circular displays can have bottleneck regions in which signal lines become crowded, leading to inefficient use of display area.
It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved displays such as circular displays or other displays with curved edges.
Apple's invention covers an active area on a possible future Apple Watch may have a circular shape. A circular ring-shaped inactive area may surround the circular active area of the display. Display driver circuitry may overlap the inactive area. For example, curved strips of gate driver circuitry may run along left and right portions of the inactive area.
This is a technical patent and you could review more of the details in here and here. Both patent applications carry the same title but carry different patent claims so as to protect different aspects of the invention.
Other Apple Watch patents that surfaced today
One: Multimode Pedestrian Odometer
Two: Self-Sealing Sensor in an Electronic Device – This is about waterproofing measures.
Three: Fiber-Reinforced Ceramic Matrix Composite for Electronic Devices (Apple Watch and iPhone)
Four: Coil Construction for improved inductive energy transfer (Apple Watch wireless charging patent)
Five: Electronic Device with Speaker Enclosure Sensor: Apple notes that "A sensor such as a gas sensor, particulate sensor, or other environmental sensor may be mounted within the speaker enclosure. The sensor in the enclosure may make temperature measurements, humidity measurements, measurements on liquids such as biological measurements, measurements on the amount of particulates in the air, measurements on ambient air gas concentrations, and other measurements." This would be a great feature for any safety scenario for the home or for plant workers.
More specifically, sensors may include environmental sensors such as a temperature sensor, a volatile organic compound sensor, a particulate sensor, a carbon monoxide sensor, a carbon dioxide sensor, an oxygen sensor, an ozone sensor, other gas sensors, a humidity sensor, a moisture sensor, sensors that measure chemical compounds and/or biological substances in water or other liquids or in the air (e.g., water quality sensors), other liquid sensors, or other sensors for measuring the environment.
Other patents may be listed here later today once all of the patents have been reviewed.
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