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Apple invents a next-gen Magic Mouse with Variable Friction and Multi-Texture capabilities which could excellent for high-end Gaming+


Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a patent application from Apple that relates to a next-generation Magic Mouse capable of producing enhanced user feedback for more immersive user computing experiences.

Apple notes in their patent background that recent advances in computing have enabled immersive user experiences including desktop gaming on personal computers, alternate and virtual reality interactive consoles, three-dimensional computer-aided design software, high-resolution display screens, and so forth. However, the user feedback provided by these computing systems and software is often limited to audio and visual feedback. Even portions of computing devices and systems that user's physically interact with, such as game controllers, keyboards, mice, and other physical input devices, are limited to elementary tactile user feedback, for example from haptic engine vibrations.

Desktop and laptop computers, commonly used at home and office settings, utilize input devices such as pens, styluses, and mice to enable user input. However, a typical computer mouse or stylus is likewise limited in user feedback capabilities. Therefore, what is needed in the art are input devices and systems capable of producing enhanced user feedback for more immersive user computing experiences.

A Variable Friction and Multi-Texture Magic Mouse

In at least one example of the present invention, an input device (mouse) can include a housing defining an internal volume and a lower portion, the lower portion defining an aperture, an input sensor disposed in the internal volume, and a haptic assembly disposed in the internal volume. The haptic assembly can include an actuator and a foot coupled to the actuator and aligned with the aperture. The actuator can be configured to selectively extend the foot through the aperture to vary a sliding resistance of the input device on a support surface.

In one example, the friction between the input device and a support surface on which the input device is moved, such as a desktop surface, can be automatically altered to mimic a surface texture or environment, or change thereof, over which the cursor controlled by the input device is moved on a display screen.

One scenario could include one portion of a display screen visually representing ice and another portion of the display screen visually representing sand. As the cursor, controlled by the mouse is moved over the ice portion, the mouse can maintain a first friction between the mouse and the desktop. Then, as the cursor controlled by the mouse is moved over the sand portion of the screen, the mouse can increase the friction between the mouse and the desktop surface, via selective actuation of the feet, to mimic the increased forces it would take in reality to move such an input device over sand compared to ice.

Other examples could include moving a game character through water and air, in which the input device could impart different tactile feedback to the user via variable friction.

In some examples, different surface textures and features can be communicated tactilely back to the user by corresponding the timing of one or more feet increasing (or decreasing) the frictional force required to move the mouse to the position, shape, and size of the surface features as the cursor or other object is moved across a screen.

For example, moving a cursor over a visual representation of a “diamond plate” sheet metal could cause feet to extend from the aperture of the mouse each time the cursor moves across an individual diamond protrusion. In such a scenario, as the user slides the mouse across the desktop, the user can tactilely feel a simulated “bump” as if the input device is being moved over the diamond plate sheet metal even when the desktop surface is smooth. The feet can be intermittently actuated at any rate depending on the position and spacing of the diamond features and depending on how fast the user moves the cursor over the diamond pattern. Below are a few key patent figures.


The mouse can also create the physical sensation of dragging a mouse over a wood surface, including reference to the portions of the wood grain, as displayed at the second display region #709b when the mouse is manipulated over that region.

While specific surface features and textures are shown on the display screen depicted in FIG. 7, one will appreciate that these are used for exemplary and illustrative purposes only. One or more other examples of input devices and display screens can produce and mimic any number of surfaces, textures, features, or other scenarios where physical conditions are visually represented on the display screen and the user tactilely feels those scenarios as simulated through adjustment of the foot or feet of the input device.

For example, some scenarios can include adjusting the horizontal movement of the mouse to be easier or more difficult for the user depending on a game condition (e.g., the virtual status or virtual position of a game character, such as being more difficult when the character is injured, wading through water, or wearing heavy equipment as compared to when the character is healthy or unburdened).

For full details, review Apple's patent application 20240094832.

10.51FX - Patent Application Bar


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