On September 18, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a series of five patent applications from Apple covering such matters as CarPlay, Touch ID, Deep Audio and more. While it's impossible to have high profile inventions roll every week, especially with Apple's Tim Cook trying to be more secretive that Jobs ever was, there's still a lot of intellectual property to appreciate exploring today.
Patent One: Siri and CarPlay
Apple notes that many automobiles provide dashboard computers with navigation and content applications. However, most dashboard computer solutions rely on unintuitive user interfaces that are difficult to operate in a hands-free and safe manner while driving.
Apple's solution of course is about Siri in Carplay. Though for this patent filing and without Apple's marketing lingo, the patents states that invention relates to an electronic device capable of touch input through a touch-sensitive surface and/or voice input through a microphone. In some examples, the electronic device may be used in an automobile.
For example, some or all of the electronic device may be mounted in a dashboard for use while driving. The electronic device may provide informational content, entertainment content, navigation, and communication features in such a manner that user interaction may be minimized, thus providing a safe driving experience. This can be accomplished by performing tasks and presenting content automatically, without the need for user input, and by allowing user input through voice controls, touch screen controls, and/or physical controls mounted on the dashboard or steering wheel, among other possibilities. For more on Apple's Carplay related invention, see patent application 20140278072 which is titled "Voice and Touch User Interface."
Patent Two: Mixing Accelerometer and Microphone Signals to Improve Voice Quality in a Mobile Device
Patently Apple first covered Apple's invention back in April 2014 under a report titled "Apple to Dramatically Advance the Quality of their EarPod Mic." You could check out our report to see more detailed graphics and overall detailing.
The only thing that's really changed here are the Patent Claims, the stuff lawyers love. Yet beyond the claims, there's nothing new in the body of the patent application that wasn't covered in April.
Patents Three & Four: Touch ID Biometric Inventions
The first biometrics related patent application is titled "Finger Biometric Sensor Providing Course Matching of Ridge Flow Data using Histograms and Related Methods."
Apple notes that their invention covers an electronic device that may include a finger biometric sensor and a processor cooperating with the finger biometric sensor. The processor may be capable of determining enrollment finger ridge flow angles over an enrollment area for an enrolled finger, and determining match finger ridge flow angles over a match area for a to-be matched finger. The processor may also be capable of determining at least one likely match sub-area of the enrollment area by dividing the enrollment area into a plurality of regions and determining a respective enrollment ridge flow histogram for each region of the enrollment area, and determining whether the to-be matched finger matches the enrolled finger based upon the at least one likely match sub-area. For more on this see Apple's patent application 20140270420
The second biometric related patent is titled "Electronic Device including Interleaved Biometric Spoof Detection Data Acquisition and Related Methods."
Apple's invention relates to providing an electronic device having increased security. The device may include an array of finger sensing pixels and data acquisition circuitry coupled to the array of finger sensing pixels. The data acquisition circuitry may be capable of acquiring finger biometric data from each of a plurality of sub-arrays of the array of finger sensing pixels. The data acquisition circuitry may also be capable of acquiring spoof detection data from at least one of the plurality of sub-arrays in an interleaved fashion with the finger biometric data. Accordingly, the electronic device may advantageously provide increased security, for example, by making it increasingly difficult to switch between a "live" finger and a "spoof" finger while acquiring finger biometric data.
According to Apple, the acquisition circuitry may include a biometric reading chain capable of acquiring the finger biometric data for each finger sensing pixel in a given sub-array, for example. A spoof reading chain may be capable of bussing together respective finger sensing pixels in the given sub-array and acquiring spoof detection data therefrom. For more on this invention, see Apple's patent application 20140270416
Patent Five: Another Liquid Metal Related Invention Surfaces
One last patent to note is one relating to liquid metal. This patent, as all liquid metal patents, are extremely complicated to read. Yet for many engineers, it'll be like reading a comic book. For engineers and gluttons for punishment, read Apple's patent tilted "Bulk Metallic Glasses with low Concentration of Beryllium." And no it has nothing to do with Barium (ouch).
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