On July 30, 2015, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a second stylus related patent application from Apple that's less aggressive than the first stylus invention that was revealed earlier today. Apple's invention generally relates to a stylus with integrated haptic feedback to simulate a surface texture.
Apple Invention Title: Touch Implement with Haptic Feedback for Simulating Surface Texture
Apple's second stylus invention published today relates to systems and methods for simulating texture of a surface via haptic feedback from a touch implement such as a stylus. The invention is somewhat less advanced than Apple's first invention on this that we covered earlier today. Whether Apple would start with this invention and graduate to the second invention is unknown at this time.
In this invention, the stylus may include one or more controllers coupled to one or more haptic devices and one or more sensors that detect when the touch implement contacts a surface. The controller may provide haptic feedback via the haptic device(s) to simulate a texture of the surface when the touch implement is in contact. In some cases the texture may correspond to a texture displayed on the surface whereas in other implementations the texture may be unrelated to the appearance of the surface.
In some implementations, the touch implement may detect information about the texture of the surface or information encoded in surface about texture or haptic feedback to provide and adjust haptic feedback accordingly. In other implementations, such as where the surface is a display and/or touch screen of an electronic device, the touch implement may receive transmitted information regarding the texture or haptic feedback to provide and adjust haptic feedback accordingly.
Apple notes that the haptic device(s) may be one or more vibration devices. In such implementations, the touch device may cause the vibration device(s) to vibrate more strongly to simulate rougher textures and/or lighter to simulate smoother textures.
In various implementations, the touch implement may vary the provided feedback as the touch implement is moved across the surface. In some cases, the sensor may be operable to detect the amount of pressure with which the touch implement is pressed against the surface and the provided haptic feedback may be dependent thereon. In some various, the touch implement may also include one or more orientation detectors that determine an orientation of the touch implement with respect to the surface and the touch implement may adjust the texture simulated based upon the orientation.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a touch implement/stylus #101.
As illustrated, the stylus may include one or more control units #106, one or more non-transitory storage media #107 (which may take the form of, but is not limited to, a magnetic storage medium; optical storage medium; magneto-optical storage medium; read only memory; random access memory; erasable programmable memory; flash memory; and so on), one or more haptic devices #108a and #108b (such as one or more vibration devices, linear vibrators, speakers, and/or other haptic devices), one or more sensors #109 (one or more contact sensors, capacitive sensors, touch sensors, cameras, piezoelectric sensors, pressure sensors, photodiodes, and/or other sensors), one or more orientation detectors #110 (such as one or more gyroscopes, accelerometers, combinations thereof, and/or other such orientation detectors), cushion elements #111 (such as foam and/or other cushioning and/or isolating materials), one or more communication components #114 (such as one or more wired or wireless components, WiFi components, near field communication components, Bluetooth components, and/or other communication components) (which may include one or more radio frequency elements such as one or more antennas), and/or one or more power sources #113 (such as one or more batteries and/or power management units).
Apple credits Jason Lor, Patrick Carroll and Dustin Verhoeve as the inventors of patent application 20150212578 which was originally filed in Q1 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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