Yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 49 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In today's report we cover two more of Apple's granted patents. The first covers an oddball protective case that completely covers the front and back of the device. The unique aspect to this invention is that it's designed to communicate with the user if the case is misaligned and provides instructions on how to remedy the problem. The second granted patent that we cover relates to Apple's 3D Touch, a three-dimensional force touch system. Copy Cats beware.
Granted Patent: A Protective iDevice Case
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to a new kind of protective cover designed primarily for iDevices like an iPhone or iPad.
The new protection cover provides a detection mechanism that notifies the iPhone user with a message on their display when their device is securely in place within the cover. If additional steps are required to ensure that the case is securely in place so that the touch sensitive surface of the iPhone is fully functional through the case's added protective layer, the case will provide feedback to the user informing them that corrective measures must be taken to fix the alignment problem. The case is made up of two parts to completely encase the iDevice.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 noted illustrates an isometric view of a rear portion of the accessory device, showing a latch mechanism in an unlocked configuration; FIG. 7 illustrates a plan view of the electronic device positioned in the accessory device, showing the display presenting a message based upon a configuration of the accessory device.
For more information on this granted patent you could review Patently Apple's coverage of this invention last year as a patent application here or review Apple's granted patent 10,064,467 in the U.S. Patent Office database. The granted patent was originally filed in Q3 2016 and published yesterday by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Granted Patent: 3D Touch (Force Touch)
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to a method and a system for determining a force-deformation relationship in a force-sensing touch screen device. In the method, an actual deformation of a touch screen of the device is measured and a sensed force applied by the touch screen to a force sensor of the device is measured. A deformation that would be imparted to the touch screen by the sensed force is determined, and a virtual deformation based on the deformation due to the sensed force and the measured actual deformation is determined.
Apple notes that in some embodiments, a method can comprise measuring an actual deformation of a touch screen of a force-sensing touch screen device by a deformation sensing system of the device, and measuring a sensed force applied by the touch screen to a residual force sensor of the device. In some embodiments, the deformation sensing layer can be an air gap or other compressible system and configured to operate as a capacitance sensor, and measuring the actual deformation can comprise measuring capacitance across the compressible deformation sensing layer. In some embodiments, measuring the actual deformation of the touch screen can comprise using localized measurement of strain. In some embodiments, the residual force sensor can further comprise a crash pad below the deformation sensing layer. In some embodiments, the method can comprise determining, by a processor circuit of the device, a deformation expected to be imparted to the touch screen by the sensed force, and determining, by the processor circuit, a virtual deformation based on the expected deformation due to the sensed force and the measured actual deformation.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 presented above shows us a cross-section of a force-sensing touch screen device when force is being applied to the screen of the device at a first level; FIG. 4 shows an example of a cross-section of a force-sensing touch screen device when a larger force is applied to the screen of the device in a 2nd or 3rd position; FIG. 6 illustrates a force touch method.
Apple notes that "In some embodiments, the deformation generates a variation in capacitance which is treated as a map (i.e., a three-dimensional measurement in which two dimensions represent the location of the measured variable on a plane in space and the third dimension represents the intensity of the measured variable) and the map is further processed to estimate the deformation. Step #601 of FIG. 6 above thus outputs a map showing measured deformation of the touch screen.
Apple's granted patent 10,067,625 titled "Virtual deflection determination for force-sensing" was originally filed in Q1 2017 and published yesterday by the US Patent and Trademark Office. For those unfamiliar with Apple's 3D Touch feature, check out the video below.
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