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Apple invents a Fabric Apple Watch Band with an Electrochromic feature that allows users to set 3 colors in 3 band zones

1 x cover apple patent control Apple Watch design and color combination

Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to a fabric Apple Watch band that includes an electrochromic feature allowing color-adjustable elements that could change the color scheme and design in 3 distinct band zones to give the watch band a customizable look unique to the user. And, for those that are fashion conscious, they'll be able to match a color scheme on their watch band to match what their attire.

Apple notes in their granted patent that users may desire the ability to customize their watch bands to express variety and style. For example, a user may desire a watch band of a particular color based on the user's selection of clothing, other wearable articles, environment, or another preference. Some existing watches offer the user with an ability to remove and exchange different watch bands for customization. However, this requires the user to have a separate watch band for each of the colors or color combinations that are desired. Furthermore, the user is required to remove and exchange the watch bands whenever a different color or color combination is desired.

In contrast to traditional watches, watch bands described in the patent can each provide adjustable color control to offer a variety of colors and color combinations to be displayed by a single band. The user or a control system can control, select, and/or adjust one or more colors of the watch band for visual display. The color selections can be made and adjusted without removing and exchanging the watch band. Accordingly, a variety of colors can be displayed at different times without requiring different watch bands for each color or color combination.

Watch bands having adjustable colors can also be used to communicate information to a user. For example, an electronic system of the watch can control the color to provide a notification to the user. The color-adjustable elements of the watch band can be arranged and independently controlled in a manner that allows the system to display particular icons, shapes, and/or text by illuminating certain elements in a particular way. Accordingly, the color changing features can be used as a visual output of information from the watch to the user.

Apple's patent FIGS. 3 and 4 below illustrate views of a fabric #122 of a watch band #110. As shown in FIG. 3, a number of filaments #130 to form a fabric. Some or all of the filaments can include electrochromic features.

2 Apple Watch band with electrochromic feature

Science Direct states that "Electro-chromism is a reversible color change in a material caused by an applied electric field or current. Ion insertion materials, which are mixed conductors (i.e. both electronic and ionic), into which ions can be rapidly and reversibly inserted, can be used as electrochromic materials." One image illustrating electrochromic material is presented below.

3 Science Dircet image of electromchromatic feature

On the technical side for Engineers, Apple notes that the watch band includes a polymer layer comprising of a polymer selected from the group consisting of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT), poly(3-methylthiophene) (P3MT), poly(2,5-dimethoxyaniline) (PDMA), polypyrrole (PPy), polyaniline (PANI), poly(aniline-N-butylsulfonate) (PANBS), EC poly{[1,3-bis(9′,9′-dihexylfluoren-20-yl)azulenyl]-alt-[2″,7″-(9″,9″-dihexylfluorenyl]} (PDHFA).

Apple further notes that the watch band conductor can optionally include a shape memory alloy that changes shape when a voltage is applied to the conductor. For example, the conductor can have a preset shape that is achieved when the voltage is applied, such that the conductor changes the shape of the watch band in response to the applied voltage. This applied voltage can be the same voltage that is applied to achieve a color change in the electrochromic layer. This shape change can provide haptic feedback to the user along with the visual indication provided by the color change.

For more details, review Apple's granted patent US 11586153 B1.

Apple Inventors 

  • Chen Zhang: Product Operations; Product Quality Engineer
  • Chiachi Wu: Mechanical Engineer at Apple (also: Mechanical engineering at National Taiwan University)
  • Zhengyu Li: Software Engineer
  • Qiliang  Xu: No LinkedIn Profile found

10.52FX - Granted Patent Bar




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