Apple Invents a new Shock-Resistant Taptic Engine enclosure for iDevices to ensure features won't Malfunction
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to updating the haptic / Taptic engine enclosure so as to further protect it during a drop event that could cause the engine and its features to malfunction.
While it's not an exciting invention by any stretch of the imagination, it does go to demonstrate that Apple's engineers are always working on ways to make Apple's devices better in an evolutionary way, even if customers may never know about these finite changes being made behind the scenes on an ongoing basis.
In their patent background Apple explains that some haptic engines include a suspended mass that is driven to produce a haptic output. In some cases, an electronic device within which a haptic engine is located may be dropped or forcefully struck against a hard object (e.g., an impact event). These impact events may cause the suspended mass to strike an enclosure of the haptic engine, due to the impact events surpassing limitations of springs suspending the suspended mass. Such movement of the suspended mass may result in various internal components of the haptic engine and/or an associated electronic device becoming damaged. Example damage includes deformed or broken internal components of at least one of the haptic engine or the electronic device and may result in a loss of function of the haptic engine or the electronic device.
In various embodiments of the provided disclosure, a haptic engine may be used to provide a haptic output. To avoid damage from impact events, such as dropping an electronic device containing the haptic engine, an enclosure of the haptic engine may include a non-linear spring assembly.
The non-linear spring assembly may include one or more cantilevered leaf springs which, during impact events, may come into contact with internal components of the haptic engine.
The one or more cantilevered leaf springs may deflect or otherwise reduce peak forces imparted to the internal components of the haptic engine arising from the impact events, thereby preventing damage to the internal components. Additional features are presented in Apple's patent filing.
Apple's patent FIGS. 1 and 2 below simply illustrate two of the key devices that the new haptic/Taptic engine enclosure will apply to; FIGS. 3A-3C illustrate various views of a haptic engine including a non-linear spring assembly having one or more cantilevered leaf springs to reduce peak forces during impact events.
Note that this isn't a design patent, so the visual of the enclosure in the patent figures will differ from Apple's actual Taptic enclosure design update.
For engineers and geeks who like to dive into the finer details of an invention, review Apple's patent application number 20230168740 here.