The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 36 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent titled "Ultrasound-based force sensing and touch sensing." Patently Apple first covered this as a patent application back in February 2016. The patent was filed in 2015, the very year that Apple introduced 3D Touch with iPhone 6S. The timing of Apple's 3D Touch and Apple's patent for ultrasound based touch would suggest that this is a patent fulfilled for 3D Touch rather than something yet to come. Ultrasonic based force sensing was to provide force touch with a new multi-level ability which Apple's 3D Touch executes to the letter. While the patent may be describing an alternative methodology of achieving 3D touch, the fact is that 3D touch is its goal and nothing more according to Apple's patent claims.
Granted Patent: Ultrasound-Based Force Sensing and Touch Sensing
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to force sensing on touch devices using ultrasound.
Apple's invention provides techniques, including circuits and designs, which can determine an amount of force applied, and changes in amounts of force applied, by the user when contacting a touch pad, and which can be incorporated into devices using touch recognition, touch elements of a GUI, and touch input or manipulation in an application program. This application also provides techniques, including devices which apply those techniques, which can determine an amount of force applied, and changes in amounts of force applied, by the user when contacting a touch pad, and in response thereto, provide additional functions available to a user of a touch pad.
In one embodiment, techniques can include providing a force sensitive sensor incorporated into a touch device. For example, a force sensitive sensor can include an ultrasound device which can detect a measure of how forcefully a user is pressing, pushing, or otherwise contacting a touch device.
Apple's patent FIG. 5A shows a conceptual drawing of a system including ultrasound-based sensing; Apple's patent FIG. 7 noted above illustrates a conceptual drawing of a system including ultrasound-based force sensing, including ultrasound-based reflection in non-force-applied and force-applied examples. Ultrasound-based 3D touch could work with iDevices, the MacBook trackpad and beyond such as with the iMac, Apple TV and peripherals like the Magic Trackpad.
Apple's granted patent 9,772,721 was originally filed in Q2 2015 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Those using abusive language or negative behavior will result in being blacklisted on Disqus.