Apple won a Pencil Patent that could one day allow artists to feel textures on an iPad that mimics painting on a canvas
Back in December Patently Apple posted a patent application report titled "One day, writing on an iPad will feel like real paper or using a Brush Tool will feel like you're Painting on a Real Canvas." On Tuesday Apple was granted that patent/invention.
Apple's newly granted patent relates to future advanced haptics for Apple Pencil that will provide users with the sensation of writing or drawing on textures. This isn't the first Apple Pencil patent focused on delivering texture haptic feedback. In fact, Apple's work on this project was first made public with a pair of patents in the summer of 2015 (01 and 02).
The first patent report that we posted back in late July 2015 was titled "Apple Invents an Incredible Stylus with Texture Sensing Capabilities, 3D Image Generation & More," which is similar in many ways to the one published today.
Apple's patent FIG. 11 shown below stems from their 2015 patent we're able to see a haptic feedback device in the form of a rumble pack #29 such as is known in the electronic gaming arts could be used in conjunction with a stylus to generate haptic feedback to a user.
An image, such as texture image associated with cloth #23 above in FIGL 11 is captured by the camera stylus. That captured image is displayed on the screen of a tablet. The stylus is held by the user in one hand while the rumble pack is simultaneously held in another hand.
As the stylus is passed over the tablet's screen the image is sensed by the stylus and the corresponding texture information is conveyed to rumble pack by software associated with the tablet. The user is thus able to visually observe the image on the tablet's screen while feeling the texture of the displayed image through rumble pack. The combination of visual and tactile input to the user allows them to experience the "look and feel" of a fabric.
In Apple's most recent granted patent this week, their engineers have likely done away with the need for using a rumble pack by integrating haptics right into Apple Pencil itself as presented in the patent figures below.
Apple points out that the haptic feedback can be provided at the tip to render texture sensations to simulate drawing on a textured surface with the stylus. By providing haptic feedback at the tip rather than generally across the entire stylus, the haptic feedback can more accurately mimic the sensation of a writing instrument on a textured surface.
Apple's engineers further point out that "In use, the haptic feedback system #150 [of FIG. 3 above] can be operated to provide haptic feedback while the user is applying the tip #190 of the stylus #100 to a surface, such as the surface of the external device 90 (shown as an iPad in FIG. 1 not shown]. The haptic feedback can be provided based on a variety of conditions and parameters. For example, the haptic feedback can be provided at the tip to render texture sensations to simulate drawing on a textured surface with the stylus [Apple Pencil].
The haptic feedback can render texture sensations to simulate drawing on a textured surface with the stylus. Such sensations can be more desirable to a user who is familiar with working on a textured surface.
The parameters of the haptic feedback can be selected based on the texture that is desired to be simulated. For example, different types of surfaces (paper, canvas, etc.) can be simulated differently based on preprogrammed and user-selectable profiles.
By further example, different types of instruments (e.g. pencil, ball-point pen, fountain pen, highlighter, brush, etc.) can be simulated differently based on preprogrammed and user-selectable profiles.
Apple's granted patent 10,691,209 was filed back in Q2 2018 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Our December 2019 patent application report could be viewed here.
Richard Huizar: Prototyping Mechanical Engineer at Apple for user experience prototypes and data collection devices.
Qiliang Xu: No LinkedIn Profile.