Apple Patent Details Advanced Light & Laser Pens for Tablets
Apple Files Trademark for QuickTime Logo

Apple's iMac Touch Technology Surfaces in Patent

IMac Touch Technology, Cover 

This week, news broke that a 22" iMac Touch is scheduled for late 2010. Although it's only a rumor at this point in time, the fact is that a 2008 Apple patent supports that marketing direction for the iMac.  To add a fuel to that fire, a segment of a new touch display technology patent that surfaced on Thursday further illustrated Apple's commitment to this project. The new touch technology employs several new sensors including laser vibrometers and micro-machined accelerometers. The twist to this is that it could be an iMac Touch or an iMac-like dock for a future Apple tablet. This is explained in more detail in this week's article titled Tablet Prophecies – Future Twist.  Whether we end up with an iMac Touch or a Touch Screen Tablet Dock, the fact is that it opens the door to some very interesting applications for consumers.


Specific Details


Buried at the tail end of a very detailed touch screen technology patent published this week, we find a specific patent figure dedicated to a desktop application for this new touch technology. The following is found in the patent:


"To alleviate concerns regarding whether the user touched the display or is merely "hovering" in the vicinity of the display, the present inventors determined that a sensor should be incorporated within the display to sense pressure (e.g., vibrations). The output of the vibration sensor is coupled to the processor so that it may be determined when the user touched the display, determine when the user did not touch the display, or otherwise provide additional confidence to the determination as to whether the user touched or did not touch the display. Referring to FIG. 36, any suitable location for the sensor may be used, such as for example, interconnected to the backside center of the chassis. Any suitable sensor may be used, such as for example, micro-machined accelerometers, piezoelectric devices such as PZT or PVDF, capacitive sensors, resistive sensors, inductive sensors, laser vibrometers, and light emitting diode vibrometers. On way of selecting when a touch occurred is when the minimum of impact energy as a given frequency range has been reached. The sensor may also be used in conjunction with the light sensitive elements to determine the location of the touch.


As it may be observed, the display may be used to identify the shape of the finger of a user, or otherwise the shape of something in pressing engagement, or otherwise in close proximity with the display, such as the hand of a user. The shape of the user's finger or hand typically extends over many of the light sensitive elements and the shape is defined by the edges of the inhibited light sensed by the light sensitive elements. The shape sensed by the light sensitive elements may be used to identify the user or otherwise identify the region that is touched."  


Also see this morning's report titled Apple Patent Details Advanced Light & Laser Pens for Tablets for more details about this patent.


Apple credits Adiel Abileah, Willem De Boer, Richard Tuenge and Larsson Terrance as the inventors of patent application 20100013796.


Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or grant is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or grant should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any patent reviewed here today, simply feed the individual patent number noted above into this search engine.


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