Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals an invention relating to a MacBook hinge system that uses a torsion bar in its construction. Scott Krahn is credited as the inventor of a 2014 'Friction Hinge System' patent for Reel Precision Manufacturing Corp in Minnesota. Today Krahn is credited as the inventor of an Apple invention for a 'Torsion Bar Design' that is part of a Notebook hinge system that could provide variable cover resistance making it easier to open and close a MacBook.
Apple notes in their patent filing that "It is often desirable to provide an assistive biasing force when moving the upper component of the laptop between closed and open positions. Unfortunately, a conventional friction-based hinge assembly provides a fixed resistance over a range of motion of the hinge assembly. Consequently, any variations made in the amount of resistance applies to the entire range of motion and cannot be targeted to particular portions of the range of motion or in particular directions.
Apple's invention describes various embodiments that relate to torsion bar assemblies suitable for adjusting a resistance of pivotally coupled components.
The idea appears to be creating a hinge system that will be easier and faster to open the lid of a MacBook before the resistance begins to kick in allowing the user to adjust the display to their liking.
Apple notes that while a friction-based hinge allows pivotally coupled components of the electronic device to be maintained in any number of angular positions with respect to one another, the friction-based hinge generally provides only a consistent amount of force throughout an angular travel of the friction based hinge, i.e. the response force profile of a friction-based hinge is a constant resistive force.
To vary an amount of force supplied in response to rotation of the pivotally coupled components, a torsion bar can be added to the friction-based hinge to provide one means for changing an amount of force required when rotating various portions of an electronic device. This may be desirable when the amount of force required during rotation in one direction is desired to be noticeably less than the amount of force required during rotation in another direction.
Similarly, this may also be desirable when the amount of force required during rotation is desired to vary with the angle of rotation, thereby producing a varied response force profile.
Apple's patent FIG. 1A noted below shows a perspective view of a Notebook; FIG. 3B is a perspective view of a two bar torsion bar assembly; FIGS. 4D and 4D show a view of torsion bar assemblies with varying cross-sectional sizes; FIGS. 7A-7B show perspective views of a hollow hinge assembly integrated with a torsion bar assembly.
Apple's patent application 20170023984 was filed back in Q3 2015. This is a fairly complex invention that engineers will appreciate to review here. Considering that this is a patent application, it's unknown if Apple will ever adopt such a MacBook hinge system or its timing to market should it be given the green light of approval.
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