Apple Inventions Cover Dual Lens iPhone 7 Camera, Waterproof Buttons & More
While there wasn't a knockout patent filing today that could really wow us, there were several smaller inventions that could possibly interest various Apple Fan niches. For instance, our cover graphic shows us a dual camera lens system that will debut on the iPhone 7. The patent itself was boringly about an "Overmolded Reconstruction Camera Module," and yet it revealed the dual camera set up Apple invented to support the dual camera module design we'll see next month. Two other inventions some may want to explore further cover waterproofing buttons for iOS devices and a camera-centric invention that covers adjustable display illumination for improving photos taken in low light.
Adjustable Display Illumination
For camera buffs, Apple's invention covers advancing picture quality in low light. A camera could require a minimum level of illuminance of the subject to produce an image of acceptable quality. If the subject illuminance is low, the signal to noise ratio (SNR) will be low and the image will appear grainy or snowy. It is desirable to provide illuminance to a subject that results in a an SNR that is above the level necessary to provide an image of acceptable quality.
Apple's invention covers "a device which includes a display that could provide adjustable light output, based in part on the color of the display screen output, to control the light output of the display screen. An illumination processor could adjustably control light output based on the colors of portions of the display screen. The light output could be adjusted to maintain the light output of the display screen across a range of colors of display screen light output. Controlling the light output of the display screen results in controlling the illuminance of a subject. The device could include a camera which captures an image of the subject and displays the image on a portion of the display screen, where the light output of a portion of the display screen could illuminate the subject such that the captured image has at least a certain level of image quality.
For more on this invention see Apple's patent application 20160225301 here.
So far this summer we've covered a series of waterproofing inventions regarding techniques to waterproof OLED displays, waterproofing board-to-board connectors, and waterproofing speakers. Today the U.S. Patent office published another waterproofing patent that covers sealed buttons.
Apple's patent covers an electronic device including an enclosure, a button, and a processing element. The button is connected to the enclosure and includes a button cap defining a user input surface, a flexible member having an interior surface and exterior surface. The flexible member is aligned with the button cap and is connected thereto. The button further includes a strain sensor connected to the interior surface of the flexible member, the strain sensor is in communication with the processing element. When a force is exerted on the button cap, the flexible member bends and the strain sensor detects a user input corresponding to the force and provides a signal to the processing element corresponding to the user input. In some embodiments, the button may be substantially or completely waterproof.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 noted above is a front elevation view of a second example of an electronic device including the waterproof button; FIG. 4 is a simplified block diagram of the electronic device including the waterproof button; and FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of a flexible member and strain sensor for a waterproof button. For more on this invention, see patent application 20160225551 here.
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