Apple Wins Major Nike + iPod and Multi-Touch Patents
The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 16 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The notables within this group include one relating to the Nike + iPod device and monitoring system, another for an iPod workout armband, two very detailed multi-touch related patents covering noise detection in Multi-Touch sensors, another covering Apple's iPhoto calendar interface and finally we see that Apple has won their third patent related to the MagSafe magnetic connector.
Granted Patent: Nike + iPod Device and Monitoring System
Apple has been granted a patent for their Nike + iPod System. The patent covers improved techniques and systems for utilizing a portable electronic device to monitor, process, present and manage data captured by a remote sensor. Apple's media players offer a convenient and varied user interface, depending on which iPod or iPhone used, that can be visual and/or audio based customized to a particular application, user-friendly and/or dynamic.
The Nike+iPod Sports Kit is a device which measures and records the distance and pace of a walk or run. The Nike+iPod consists of a small accelerometer attached to or embedded in a shoe, which communicates with either the Nike+ Sportband, a receiver plugged into an iPod Nano, or directly with an iPod Touch 2nd Generation or iPhone 3GS. If using the iPod or the iPhone 3GS, iTunes software can be used to view the walk or run history. Wikipedia has more on this.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a sports monitoring system associated with Nike + iPod product - with FIG. 3 being a block diagram of the wireless interface accessory associated with the invention.
Miscellaneous Nike + iPod Interface Examples
A Diagram of a Template Control System
The template control system 8000 is managed by a workout manager 8002 provided within an Apple media player. The template control system utilizes one or more workout templates 8004. The workout templates are provided to the workout manager. The workout manager can control operation of the media player during a workout. In this regard, using information from the workout templates, the workout manager can control whether or not workout data 8006, such as workout data provided by a sports device, is recorded. In addition, the workout manager 8002 can control or influence what is presented on a display 8008 based on the workout templates. For example, the information being presented on a workout screen can be controlled by information within the workout templates.
Apple credits Sandeep Gupta, Greg Marriott, Max Sprauer, David A. Shayer, John Wesley Archibald and Shannon Wells as the inventors of granted patent 7,643,895, originally filed in Q2 2006.
Industrial Design Win: iPod nano - Third Generation Armband
Apple credits Bartley Andre, Daniel Coster, Daniele De Iuliis, Evans Hankey, Richard Howarth, Jonathan Ive, Duncan Kerr, Shin Nishibori, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Peter Russell-Clarke, Douglas Satzger, Calvin Seid, Christopher Stringer, Eugene Whang and Rico Zorkendorfer as the inventors of Granted Patent D607,198, originally filed in Q2 2007.
Granted Patent: Noise Detection in Multi-Touch Sensors
Apple's patent describes Multi-touch touch-sensing devices and methods. In particular, the touch sensing devices could include multiple sense points, each of which can be stimulated with a plurality of periodic waveforms having different frequencies to measure a touch value at the sense point. Noise at one or more of the frequencies can interfere with this measurement. Therefore, various noise detection (and rejection) techniques are described.
The noise detection techniques include two-clean-frequency noise detection, one-clean-frequency noise rejection, and combined two-clean-frequency/one-clean-frequency noise detection. Each of the noise detection techniques can include statistical analyses of the sample values obtained. The touch sensing methods and devices can be incorporated into interfaces for a variety of electronic devices such as a desktop, tablet, notebook, and handheld computers, personal digital assistants, media players, and mobile telephones.
An Exemplary One-Clean-Frequency Noise Algorithm
Apple's patent FIG. 7 illustrates a plot of spatial variance of sample values over time. An exemplary one-clean-frequency noise algorithm is illustrated in FIG. 8. As an initial step 801, a touch image can be obtained at each of the drive frequencies. The one-clean-frequency noise algorithm can analyze both spatial and temporal statistics of the sample values. Therefore, subtracting the effects of varying touch (e.g., fingers or other hand parts touching or hovering over the touch sensor) can be part of a one-clean-frequency noise algorithm, which can avoid confusing the touch signal with the noise signal. This can be accomplished by computing a smoothed touch image for each frequency (block 802) and subtracting each smoothed image from a corresponding touch image (block 803). The smoothed touch image may be computed, for example, by performing an iterated unsharp mask filter on each image frame.
Apple credits Sean Erik O'Connor and Wayne Westerman as the inventors of granted patent 7,643,011 originally filed in Q1 2007. Another multi-touch granted patent was published today under number 7,643,010 which credits Wayne Westerman and Steve Hotelling as the inventors. For information, see the temporary link to Peripheral Pixel Noise Reduction.
Granted Patent: iPhoto 6’s Calendar Interface
Apple's patent relates to techniques for organizing and presenting digital images within iPhoto. Apple's patent covers the following topics: Date Information; the Calendar Interface; Using the Calendar Interface to Convey Information about a Collection; Specifying Filtering Criteria using the Calendar interface; Applying the Calendar-Specified Filter; Time Zone Options; Alternative Interfaces; Automatic Keyword Creation and Switching Between Interfaces. For a practical overview of this feature, read Macworld's Find Photos Fast review.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a screen display 500 that includes a calendar interface 502 and a thumbnail region 504 according to an embodiment of the invention. As the user interacts with the calendar interface 502, the content of the thumbnail region 504 changes so that only those image files that satisfy the filtering criteria specified through the calendar interface are displayed.
Apple credits Peter Wagner, Jeffrey Robbin Joshua Fagans, Timothy Martin and Timothy Wasko (High River, Canada) as the inventors of Granted Patent 7, 643,706, originally filed in Q1 2005. For more information, view this temporary link.
Granted Patent: MagSafe
Apple was also granted a patent for MagSafe under the patent titled Electromagnetic Connector for Electronic Device.
An electrical plug and receptacle relying on magnetic force from an electromagnet to maintain contact are disclosed. The plug and receptacle can be used as part of a power adapter for connecting an electronic device, such as a laptop computer, to a power supply. The plug includes electrical contacts, which are preferably biased toward corresponding contacts on the receptacle. The plug and receptacle each have a magnetic element. The magnetic element on one of the plug or receptacle can be a magnet or ferromagnetic material. The magnetic element on the other of the plug or receptacle is an electromagnet. When the plug and receptacle are brought into proximity, the magnetic attraction between the electromagnet magnet and its complement (whether another magnet or a ferromagnetic material), maintains the contacts in an electrically conductive relationship.
Apple credits John DiFonzo, Bartley Andre, Kayne Lim, Matthew Dean Rohrbach, Mark Doutt and Jean-Marc Gery as the inventors of granted patent 7,641,477 originally filed in Q1 2008. Wikipedia states that MagSafe is similar to the magnetic power connectors that many deep fryers and Japanese countertop cooking appliances have in order to avoid spilling their dangerously hot contents. While we're on the topic of hot, Apple was sued over MagSafe adapter safety issues in 2009. This is the third granted patent for Magsafe. Two others were issued in April 2009.
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