Apple won 58 patents yesterday covering an HMD with 'Protected' mode for lenses, AirPods Max with bone conduction for privacy & more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 58 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. yesterday. In this particular report we briefly cover future Mac keyboards having touch event capabilities; a protective mode for HMD lenses; and AirPods Max having one channel that may be a "private" channel, through which audio content is routed to a bone conduction transducer. 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.
Future Mac Keyboards with Touch Event Capabilities
Apple was granted patent 11,177,093 yesterday titled "Touch-sensitive mechanical keyboard with sensing circuits for touch events and key depression events." Apple claims that "The keyboard can include a plurality of sensing circuits coupled to the key make electrodes, the first touch electrodes, and the second touch electrodes. The plurality of sensing circuits can be used to detect both touch events and key depression events.
More specifically, the patent claims: "In this way, the keyboard can also be used for cursor input functions, such as point, click, scroll, drag, select, zoom, and the like, without requiring the user to remove their hands from the keyboard. These functions, and more, can be driven by hand/finger motion, while the fingers are sliding over and touching the mechanical keys.
Optical System for Head-Mounted Display
Apple was granted patent 11,175,503 yesterday titled "Optical system for head-mounted display." Apple's patent covers a head-mounted display system that may include control circuitry that operates the head-mounted display in an active use mode and a protected mode.
In the protected mode, the display system may be protected from collisions with the lens system. Placing the head-mounted display in the protected mode may include using an actuator to increase the distance between the display system and the lens system (e.g., by moving one or both of the display system and the lens system away from each other), may include injecting fluid between the display system and the lens system, and/or may include deploying a protective layer between the display system and the lens system.
The control circuitry may determine whether to operate the head-mounted display in protected mode or active use mode based on sensor data, on/off status information, location information, and/or other information.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a side view of an illustrative head-mounted display having a lens system with an interposer lens in active use mode; FIG. 6 is a side view of an illustrative head-mounted display having a lens system with an interposer lens in protected mode.
Bone Conduction Transducers for Privacy
Apple was granted patent 11,176,925 yesterday titled "Bone conduction transducers for privacy." The patent covers a method performed on a pair of wireless open-back headphones such as Apple's AirPods Max.
The headphones may include two or more channels, each of which route audio content differently. For instance, one channel may be a "private" channel, through which audio content is routed to a bone conduction transducer that outputs the audio as mechanical vibrations of the user's skull. Such vibrations may only be heard by the user of the headphones.
In contrast, the electronic device may include another "non-private" channel, through which audio content is routed to at least one of the speakers of the open-back headphones that outputs sound into (or towards) an ear of a user. Sound produced by the speaker may be heard by not only the user of the electronic device, but also others that are within a close proximity (e.g., persons sitting next to the user of the electronic device), since sound produced by speakers of open-back headphones may leak out into the environment.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a progression of stages of a headset receiving an incoming call that is routed to a bone conduction transducer.
Key Design Patents Granted Yesterday
The Remaining Patents Granted to Apple 11/16/21