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Apple patent reveals Apple Pencil could gain an Acoustic Resonator that will allow it to be found via the 'Find My' App

1 cover graphic for new Find My patent

Update 11: 20 a.m. PST. : Patent Graphic Reset

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Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to adding Apple Pencil  to Apple's list of devices that could be a part of "Find My" devices service. Currently Apple Pencil is not on Apple's list of devices that could be tracked but will in the future, according to today's patent.

Many types of peripheral input devices are presently used to provide input to electronic devices. Styluses have become popular peripheral input devices for touch-sensitive devices. In particular, use of an active stylus capable of generating stylus stimulation signals that can be sensed by the touch-sensitive device can improve the precision of stylus input. However, a peripheral input device used to interact with an electronic device may be misplaced.

Apple's patent is related to locating a lost Apple Pencil, or other peripheral input device that can be made possible by acoustic resonators integrated within housing structures of the stylus. Acoustic resonators can be formed at an end of the stylus opposite its tip, and can include portions of the stylus outer housing that are thinned down to an engineered thickness that has a particular resonant behavior or frequency. In some examples, acoustic resonators can be formed at a cap portion of the stylus, and can include a resonant diaphragm attached to at least a portion of a cap boundary. Cap coverings for the cap portion can optionally have openings to allow ventilation for changes in air pressure generated beneath the covering. In some examples, an electronic device can communicate a location request to the stylus and can cause the stylus to generate an acoustic signal for a specified target detector using the acoustic resonators.

Apple's patent FIG. 2 below illustrates block diagrams of an Apple Pencil that could communicate with an iDevice like an iPhone in order to find it via Apple's Find My app;  FIG. 3 illustrates an example of an active stylus with an acoustic resonator in its end portion.

2 x Apple patent figs. 2 and 3 Apple Pencil patent report by patently apple

Beacon Mode

In respect to patent FIG. 2, Apple further notes that when stylus #202 is operated in a beacon mode, processor #204 can retrieve and execute instructions from memory #206 corresponding to the beacon mode, and cause/control haptic module #210 to generate an acoustic signal by vibrating acoustic resonator(s) #212 at particular frequencies and/or particular amplitudes, for a particular duration.

As an example, vibration frequencies associated with an acoustic signal can be between 1 kHz - 20 kHz. This range (1 kHz - 20 kHz) can sometimes be referred to as the audible range of frequencies associated with human hearing.

For more details, review Apple's patent application number 20230161545.

Apple Inventors

Sedat Pala: Haptic Hardware Design Engineer

Mia (Mihye) Shin: Engineering Manager

Jere Charles Harrison: Engineer

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