Apple Won 66 Patents Today covering a Vehicle Suspension System & Future Smart Fabric Apple Watch Band with Haptics
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 66 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two inventions. The first covers a 'Project Titan' vehicle system that focuses on improving active suspension systems that reduce energy usage by leveraging electropermanent (EP) magnets. The second patent covers a future smart fabric Apple Watch band with haptics. And as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Active Suspension System with Electropermanent Magnets
Apple's Project Titan invention covers a method of stabilizing a vehicle. The method includes identifying, by a control system, a change in a vehicle operating characteristic; outputting, by the control system, a stabilizing command to an actuator system based on identifying the change in the vehicle operating characteristic; and applying, by the actuator system, a first magnetic field having a predetermined strength to an electropermanent magnet for a predetermined duration based on receiving the stabilizing command.
The first magnetic field transitions the electropermanent magnet from a first state to a second state, the electropermanent magnet generates a second magnetic field in the second state, the second magnetic field modifies at least one of a spring constant or a mechanical resistance of a suspension component within a suspension system of the vehicle, and the electropermanent magnet retains the second state after the predetermined duration in absence of the first magnetic field.
Another aspect of the disclosure is a suspension component for an active suspension system. The suspension component includes a first component that includes an electropermanent magnet, the electropermanent magnet having a first state and a second state, and a second component, wherein magnetic interaction between the first component and the second component defines a damping characteristic that affects relative motion of the first component and the second component. A controller is operable to supply a current pulse to the electropermanent magnet to switch an active state of the electropermanent magnet between the first state and the second state, wherein the electropermanent magnet retains the active state after cessation of the current pulse.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is an illustration showing a vehicle with a new suspension system; FIG. 2 is an illustration showing an overview of a vehicle control system.
More specifically, Apple's patent FIG. 1 shows a vehicle #100 that has a vehicle body #102. The vehicle body may include internal structural portions and external portions that are aesthetic and/or structural in nature. As examples, the vehicle body may include one or more of a unibody, a frame, a subframe, a monocoque, and body panels.
Apple notes that the vehicle includes suspension components (#106). The suspension components typically include numerous individual components, many of which are associated with one or more of the road wheels.
Apple's Project Titan invention focuses on improvements to active suspension systems that reduce energy usage by leveraging electropermanent (EP) magnets or other variable flux magnets.
Apple was granted patent 10,759,246 today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which as originally filed for in Q 2018.
Apple Watch with Smart Fabric Band
Apple's newly granted patent published by the U.S. Patent Office covers their invention relating to electronic devices and, more particularly, to electronic devices having output devices incorporated into fabric.
Fabric can be provided with metal wires and other conductive fibers. These fibers can be used to carry signals for electrical components. In some arrangements, an electronic device can be formed from a fabric that contains electrical components. In other arrangements, an electronic device may include fabric that does not contain any electrical components. The fabric-based electronic device may be worn or held by a user.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of illustrative electronic equipment having one or more output devices incorporated into fabric; FIG. 2 is a perspective view of illustrative electronic equipment such as an Apple Watch band having one or more output devices incorporated into the fabric; FIG. 3 is a perspective view of illustrative fabric that includes an output device formed from a moveable structure that is incorporated into the fabric.
This is Apple's second granted patent for this invention. Patently Apple covered Apple's first granted patent for this invention back in November 2017.
So, what has Apple added in granted patent 10,762,751 issued today? The additions to the invention are specifically found in Apple's patent claims where they clarify what the smart "Fabric" is made of or consists. Apple identifies this claim number one which states that following:
"An electronic device, comprising: fabric having warp and weft fibers and having first and second regions; control circuitry; and a haptic output device that moves the fabric in response to control signals from the control circuitry, wherein the haptic output device creates a protrusion on the first region of the fabric while the second region of the fabric remains flat and wherein the haptic output device comprises a wire that moves within and relative to a tube that is intertwined with the warp and weft fibers."
Secondly, Apple adds support for haptic output in the first seven patent claims.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today