Apple Invents an Apple Pencil with Optical Sensors to sample both Color and Texture of a Surface
On the last Patent Application day of the year, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a possible next-gen Apple Pencil with built-in Optical Sensors used to sample both the color and texture of a surface.
Apple Pencil with Optical Sensor For Sampling Surfaces
In this latest Apple Pencil patent application, Apple describes a new color sensor system being added. The color sensor may be used to sample the color of the surface of an external object. Texture measurements and/or other measurements on the appearance of the object may also be made.
Measurements from Apple Pencil may be transmitted wirelessly to a companion device such as a tablet computer (e.g., so that a sampled color or other attributes may be used in a drawing program or other software).
The color sensor may have a color sensing light detector having a plurality of photodetectors each of which measures light for a different respective color channel. The color sensor may also have a light emitter.
The light emitter may have an adjustable light spectrum. The light spectrum may be adjusted during color sensing measurements using information such as ambient light color measurements. Arrangements in which the intensity of the light emitter is modulated during color sensing may also be used.
An inertial measurement unit may be used to measure the angular orientation between the stylus and an external object during color measurements. Texture may be measured using light that strikes the surface of the external object at glancing angles. Measurements from the stylus such as color sensor measurements, texture measurements, and associated angular orientation measurements may be transmitted wirelessly to external equipment.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below is a side view of an in illustrative electronic device with a color sensor; FIG. 5 is a side view of an illustrative electronic device with optical components that are mounted in a shaft portion of a device housing and that are optically coupled to a tip portion of the device using light guides.
For more details, review Apple's patent application number US 20220413636 A1. While we never know the timing of a patent to market, today's invention would be a nice addition to Apple Pencil when Apple introduces their 2024 OLED display iPad.
- Bosheng Zhang: Prototype Engineer, Camera Incubation
- Kathrin Berkner: Manager of Camera Incubation Team
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