Apple wins Patent for future MacBooks that will provide Multiple Haptic areas throughout the MacBook Design
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to possible future MacBooks having multiple discrete haptic output regions throughout the MacBook body.
Apple's granted patent generally relates to electronic devices with one or more input areas that also function to provide spatially localized haptics via the Taptic Engine. "Spatially localized" haptics (or haptic output) generally refers to any haptic signal, e.g., haptic output, that is tactilely perceptible to a person touching a particular active region of the electronic device, but imperceptible outside that region.
The surface area over which a single haptic output is perceptible is referred to as a "discrete haptic region." There may be any number of discrete haptic regions in an input area of a laptop computing device.
The discrete haptic regions may be separated from each other, or they may overlap. Either way, they remain discrete haptic regions each associated with an individual haptic actuator. An "input area" is a structure or surface configured to accept a user input.
For example, an input area may encompass part of MacBook's housing and be large enough that a user may touch multiple portions of the input area simultaneously. Each touch in the input area may be registered as an input or may be considered by the MacBook as a potential input.
Further, the electronic device may provide spatially localized haptic output in each discrete portion of the input area, such that each haptic output is perceived only within its discrete region and not in other portions, areas, or sections of the input region.
In many embodiments, an input area is configured to be manipulated by, or contacted by, a user's finger exerting a touch or force. For example, a user may provide input to the input area through one or more fingers of both hands.
The user's fingers may touch or slide across the input area. As one option, spatially localized haptic output may be provided in the input area in such a way that one finger touching the input area perceives the haptic output, but another finger at another location on the input area does not. As such, the haptic output is limited to specific discrete haptic regions of the input area.
While an outer surface of the input area of the top case can be a smooth unbroken surface, the inner surface of the top case, opposite the smooth outer surface, may have one or more haptic actuators coupled to it.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a system diagram illustrating certain components of a sample embodiment; FIG. 2 shows a laptop computing device including a haptic input surface and haptic actuators; FIG. 3 illustrates a user interacting with a haptic input surface of the laptop computing device of FIG. 2.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below illustrates a user receiving a haptic output in a palm rest area of the MacBook of FIGS. 2 and 3; FIGS. 5A-5D illustrate sample layouts of haptic actuators in an input area of a future MacBook.
Apple's patent FIG. 13 below illustrates a sample MacBook having multiple discrete haptic regions formed on the upper portion and lower portion.
Apple's granted patent 10,942,571 was published today by USPTO. It was originally filed in Q1 2019.