Six Apple ‘Finger Device' patents have been published in 6 weeks with today’s being focused on finger devices for large virtual keyboards
Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled “HP Surprises the Market with the Introduction of their first Hybrid Tablet-Notebook branded 'Hp Spectre Fold' as pictured below. The new device provides a virtual keyboard for casual use and a physical keyboard that could be magnetically attached for those typing documents for most of the day.
The problem with virtual keyboards, like the Lenovo virtual keyboard on a 2-display notebook as illustrated below, is that pounding fingers on a hard display surface is hard on the fingers over time.
Apple, that is working on a foldable hybrid tablet-notebook of their own, according patents 01 and 02, has patented finger devices that could better work with a large virtual keyboard as noted in the patent figures below.
Apple's patent FIG. 13 presented below shows how the housing of finger-mounted device #26A may wrap under the tip of finger (#10) while leaving fingernail (#18) exposed. The finger mounted devices could be individually worn or a gloves-accessory could be used with the finger-mounted devices built-in.
Apple's patent FIG. 14 above is a diagram of a user's finger with an optional finger-mounted device and an associated electronic device in a system.
Overall, Apple’s patent notes that a user may provide finger press input to a touch sensitive input surface or other input surface. The input surface may be formed from a two-dimensional touch sensor overlapping a display of an electronic device. The electronic device and associated equipment such as a finger-mounted device may form a system for gathering the finger press input from the user.
A sensor such as an optical proximity sensor or capacitive proximity sensor may be used in monitoring when the finger-mounted device and a user's finger in the device approach the input surface of the electronic device. In response to detection of motion of the finger towards the input surface, actuators in the finger-mounted device may squeeze the finger inwardly. This causes a finger pad portion of the finger to protrude outwardly towards the input surface, thereby softening impact between the finger and the input surface.
The electronic device may also have an array of components that repel the finger-mounted device and/or the finger in response to detection of the motion of the finger towards the input surface. These components may produce repulsive force using electrostatics, magnetic repulsion or attraction, ultrasonic output, and mechanical output. The components may, as an example, include an array of electromagnetics overlapping the input surface that magnetically repel a component such as a permanent magnet in the finger-mounted device.
Apple’s patent activity regarding rings and/or finger devices over the last six weeks has been fairly high with these patents 01, 02, 03, 04 and 05 plus today’s published patent application 20230297227 being the sixth. Apple attempted to revise today’s invention twice and had to ‘Abandon’ the patent updates for failing to get approved by USPTO. It must be a fairly important patent being that Apple is once again trying to update this invention to get it granted with key updates.