Apple Wins Patent for Mixed Reality HMD & Glasses that uses IPD Measurements to Ensure Proper Eye Alignment for viewing content
Apple Won 5 Patents today covering various Systems relating to their Future HMD's and Smartglasses

Apple Wins Patent that reveals a new Side of Device Input Surface for Scrolling and a display surface that supports Apple Pencil

1 Cover Apple patent win  side input


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 62 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this granted patent we cover force and touch sensors that use self-mixing interferometry of laser diodes to detect force or touch on input surfaces such as the side of an iPhone or for force touch on a display with an Apple Pencil. The force or touch inputs may be detected at multiple points on the surface or display by using a waveguide to direct the light emitted by the laser diodes.


Apple's granted patent covers devices, methods, and systems--and electronic devices having them--that can detect a press, touch, or other input on input surfaces, such as the side of a device like an iPhone and display surface that Apple Pencil will be able to work with. The invention could also be used on other devices like MacBooks or the iMac.


The devices, methods, and systems may include an optical waveguide, positioned on or adjacent to the input surface, into which a laser diode inserts light. The light may be inserted and undergo total internal reflections as it traverses the length of the optical waveguide until, in some embodiments, it reflects from a full or partial reflector at an end of the optical waveguide, the end being at a known distance from the insertion location of the light (e.g., from the diode). In the absence of a user's touch on the input surface, the inserted light that is reflected from the reflector may be received back into the lasing cavity of the laser diode to cause self-mixing interference of the light existing within the laser cavity and the reflected light.


Such self-mixing interference can alter an operational parameter of the laser diode. The altered operational parameter may be detected by processing electronics coupled with the laser diode. The detected alteration in the operational parameter may be correlated with the known distance to the reflector from the insertion location.


The optical waveguide may also include one or multiple light out-coupling elements. The light out-coupling elements may be transmissive light out-coupling elements, reflective light out-coupling elements, in-waveguide tilted Bragg gratings, or another type. The light out-coupling elements may be positioned in the optical waveguide at or near respective input sensing positions on the input surface.


When a user presses or otherwise touches the input surface at a sensing location near a particular light out-coupler, light in the waveguide can exit the waveguide at the location of that light out-coupler and, in some of the embodiments, be reflected back into the waveguide such as from a user's finger.


A single laser light source and waveguide with multiple light out-couplers can be used to detect an input along an input surface having a one-dimensional extent, such as an input surface configured as a slider button.


Apple's patent FIG. 1A FIG. illustrates an input surface located along the side of an electronic device such as an iPhone. The user's finger can also provide a scroll input across the sensing locations 106a-106n; FIG. 1B illustrates a display input surface on an electronic device that could accommodate Apple Pencil input.


2 Apple patent figs 1a and 1b touch side controls


Apple's patent FIG. 4A below illustrates a laser diode and an optical waveguide with transmissive light out-couplers configured to detect a user input to an input surface; FIG. 4B illustrates a laser diode and an optical waveguide with reflective light out-couplers configured to detect a user input to an input surface.


3 apple figs 4a  4b


At one-point in Apple's granted patent they note that examples of a light-based sensors may include LIDAR systems. Such light-based sensor mechanisms may be configured to measure distance or displacement of just a single location on a target object. In the case of a user input surface, detecting a user input at a large number of locations across the user input surface would require a corresponding number of light-based sensor mechanisms that each detect distance or displacement from a respective single location on a target object. Various embodiments disclosed herein are directed to light-based sensor mechanisms that may measure distance, displacement, or speed of movement at multiple locations on a target object using a single laser light source."


Apple's granted patent 10,824,275 was originally filed in Q3 2018 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.


10.52FX - Granted Patent Bar


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