Apple Won 63 Patents today and one of them is for a Future headset with Next-Gen Haptics and Audio Output
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 63 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we focus on a single patent covering future devices that could use new haptics and audio output. Other patents pointed out for interest sake cover Apple TV interfaces, touch and hover detection, the lightning connector, finding a parked vehicle and more. We wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Headband with Audio Output & Haptics
In general, a haptic device or haptic actuator is an example of a device that provides the tactile feedback to the user. In particular, the haptic device or actuator may apply relative amounts of force to a user through actuation of a mass that is part of the haptic device. Through various forms of tactile feedback, for example, generated relatively long and short bursts of force or vibrations, information may be conveyed to the user.
Apple's newly granted patent is one never seen before as a patent application. Their invention covers a wearable electronic device that may include a wearable band and a plurality of audio output transducers carried by the wearable band.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates a wearable electronic device (#20) includes a wearable band (#28) or strap for securing the electronic device to a user (#24). The wearable electronic device is illustratively in the form of a headset as the wearable band is in the form of a headband that includes elastic.
The wearable electronic device includes first and second device housings 21a, 21b. Respective wireless communications circuitry 25a, 25b (e.g. cellular, WLAN Bluetooth, etc.) may also be carried within each respective device housing on the left and right, respectively #21a and # 21b.
Apple further notes that the wireless communications circuitry may perform at least one wireless communications function, for example, for voice and/or data on at least one model.
Respective haptic actuators are on each side of the band and shown as #40a and #40b.
Apple illustrates that their invention will apply to a wide range of products including a future headset that may or may not be used in conjunction with an iPhone, future headphones (and more) as shown below.
Other random points Apple makes in their granted patent is that the wearable devices will include multiple haptic actuators. For example, a user may play back synchronized waveforms on multiple actuators such that users can feel effects, particularly those involving bass, from a certain direction. A user with a headset may be able to feel a car passing by from the right to left side of the display.
The wearable devices may also augment the low frequency band of sound with by adding a haptic sensation synchronized to speaker outputs. For example, haptic actuators attached near right and left ears vibrate differently to generate stereo haptic effect, which is synchronized to the speaker outputs. A user may feel improved bass sound due to the added vibration.
Still further, the wearable devices may provide haptic notification with directional information. For example, during navigation, a user may differentiate a "right turn" and "left turn" based on the directionality of haptic notification (e.g., a vibration may start from right side and finish at the left side). A rotational effect may also be generated, for example, based upon phase delayed first and second drive signals.
Apple filed for this patent back in September 2017 and granted today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Concept drawings presented in this granted patent are not design patents, simply illustrations conveying a concept.
Apple's Patent Inventors
Tao Jia: Machine Learning Software Engineer who came to Apple via Fitbit and Qualcomm
Alex Lee: Haptics Engineer who has worked on Touch ID, Apple Watch Digital Crown, Heart Rate Sensor, Taptic Engine and more.
Shingo Yoneoka: Hardware Engineering Manager
Other Granted Patents of mild interest include the following:
01: Systems and methods for proactively assisting users accurately locate a parked vehicle.
02: TV side bar user interface (dating back to 2010)
03: Lightning Connector
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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