The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 52 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent relating to haptic feedback gloves that could work with VR games on a Mac or a VR headset – though a headset isn't the focus.
According to some embodiments of Apple's granted patent, a haptic feedback component (gloves) for generating haptic feedback that can include a frame having a size and shape for receiving an appendage of a user, a flexible beam member coupled to the frame, and a haptic feedback element that is coupled to the flexible beam member, wherein the haptic feedback element actuates in response to receiving an electrical signal so as to cause the flexible beam member to displace from an initial configuration to a modified configuration in order to direct the haptic feedback towards the appendage.
According to other embodiments, a wearable haptic device for generating haptic feedback according to movement of an appendage of a user is described. The wearable haptic device includes an enclosure that defines an internal cavity having a size and shape to receive the appendage, a controller that is configured to generate a feedback parameter based on the movement of the appendage, an electrode that is configured to generate an electrical signal based on the feedback parameter, and a haptic feedback component carried within the internal cavity, wherein the haptic feedback component is configured to displace from an initial configuration to a modified configuration upon receiving the electrical signal, thereby generating the haptic feedback towards the appendage so as to be perceived by the user.
In some embodiments, the wearable haptic apparatus #110 of FIG. 1 below can be configured to electronically communicate or interact with an electronic device #150 so that the wearable haptic apparatus can determine the haptic feedback to be generated.
In some embodiments, the electronic device #150 can include a display #152 that can be configured to present visual stimuli and audio stimuli to the user. In some embodiments, the user can be configured to interact with the visual stimuli by using the wearable haptic apparatus #110.
For example, as shown in FIG. 1, the display presents a virtual reality game that can be played by the user. The display can depict a beach scene that shows an ocean, waves, trees, and sand.
A haptic feedback component #120 of the wearable haptic apparatus can be configured to generate haptic feedback that simulates the differences in the different textures, sensations, and perceptions associated with the ocean, waves, trees, and sand.
In one example, while the user is watching the display 152 and perceiving that he is running his fingers through sand, the haptic feedback component 120 can be configured to receive instructions from the electronic device 150 that causes the haptic feedback component to provide a continuous sequence of electrical pulses having a repeating waveform that simulates the rough texture of the sand.
In another example, while the user is watching the display and perceiving that a light spray of water is hitting their fingers, the haptic feedback component can be configured to receive instructions from the electronic device that causes the haptic feedback component to provide a single electrical pulse to simulate a quick drops of water.
Apple's patent FIG.1 below illustrates a perspective view of a system for generating haptic feedback. In some embodiments, the wearable haptic apparatus #110 can refer to gloves or mittens that can be worn around a user's hand. As described herein, haptic feedback can refer to actuating a haptic feedback element to selectively stimulate the nerves within a user's body part (e.g., fingers). Haptic feedback can simulate a sensation of touch feedback by applying force, vibrations, pulses, regular or irregular movements, or other motions that can be perceived by the user; FIGS. 2A-2B illustrates perspective views of a wearable haptic apparatus for generating haptic feedback.
Apple further notes that in some embodiments, the wearable haptic apparatus #110 can be configured to generate haptic feedback in accordance with a change in a motion parameter that is detected by a sensor (not illustrated) of the wearable haptic apparatus or another sensor external to the wearable haptic apparatus. For example, the external sensor can be a 2-dimensional camera, 3-dimensional camera, or optical system that can be positioned in the same environment (e.g., the same room) as the wearable haptic apparatus.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below illustrates an electronic haptic device for generating haptic feedback; IGS. 5A to 5D illustrate various views of a haptic feedback component.
Apple's patent FIG. 14 below illustrates a method for generating haptic feedback; FIGS. 10A to 10D illustrate various views of several embodiments of a haptic feedback component.
Apple's granted patent 10,481,688 was originally filed in Q3 2017 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
There's only a single reference to "headset," so it's likely not the focus of the gloves. The patent gives us a little hope that Apple Arcade 2.0 may include more advanced games.
Paul Wang: Architect, Product Design
Alex Lehmann: Product Design Engineer
Michael Cheung: Position Unknown