Apple Won 50 Patents Today Covering Devices made with Smart Fabrics and a next-gen In-Vehicle Lighting System
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple 59 newly granted patents today. Our final granted report covers two reports. The first covers a major Project Titan invention describing a next-gen in-vehicle lighting system that will work throughout the vehicle from seats to the dashboard, windshield and more. The second patent covers smart fabrics for devices and future clothing including jackets, headbands, pants, shirts 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.
In-Vehicle Lighting Systems
Apple was granted patent #10,464,476 today that relates to Project Titan. In some ways it relates to smart fabrics in combination with a lighting system that may be integrated into a fabric seat, door panel, dashboard, or other interior portions of a system such as a vehicle.
Further, the illumination from a lighting system may provide ambient light, may create a custom surface texture or other decorative pattern on a seat or other interior surface, may include icons, text, and other information, and may include custom gauges.
Illuminated regions may overlap sensors such as capacitive touch sensors, force sensors, and other sensors. The light-emitting diodes in a lighting system may supply light that passes through openings in a cover layer. The layer may be formed from fabric, leather, or other materials. Lens structures may guide light through the openings.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates system #10 that covers the basics in a vehicle including the dashboard, seats, headrests, safety belts and so forth while including a new illumination lighting system. A camera (#26) may monitor movements of the vehicle's occupants. The vehicle's seats (#22) may include pressure sensors (#31) to measure pressure (weight) due to the presence of a driver, passenger, or other occupants (users) in the seats.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative system with lighting; FIG. 5 is a side view of an illustrative light projection system such as an image projector of the type that may be used to provide lighting.
Apple's patent FIG. 23 above is a perspective view of an illustrative magnetic holder for an item such as a cup and an associated lighting system.
When driving at night, most of the time trying to put a cup of coffee back in it's proper place is a hit and miss experience. with a next-gen lighting system, as I go to place my coffee down, a landing site for my mug will light up. It sounds like a very cool idea for night driving.
Apple's patent FIG. 11 below is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative lighting system with a force sensor layer; FIGS. 14, 15, 16, and 17 are diagrams showing illustrative patterns of illumination that may be produced with a lighting system.
Apple's patent FIG. 20 above is a perspective view of an illustrative illuminated wireless charging pad.
Once again, the wireless recharger's landing pad will light up at night to guide you to where you need to put your iPhone down so that you're not fumbling around in the dark trying to find it and distract you while driving. For night driving it could come in handy while being cool.
Apple's granted patent was filed in Q3 2016 and published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Fabric Control Device
In December 2018 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple wins a Major Smart Fabric Patent Aimed at Future Products like an Apple TV Remote, Smart Clothing, MacBooks and more." Today Apple was granted patent 10,465,314 which covers the same invention but expands its scope via new patent claims.
Sometimes finding Apple's patent claim changes are difficult. In today's granted patent 10,465,314 there were two claims that stood out.
The first additional claim is #20 where Apple adds "wherein the touch sensor is configured to obtain grip detection information."
The second additional patent claim of interest was #17 stating that "The fabric-based item defined in claim 6, further comprising: an optical proximity sensor that operates through the fabric layer using the light-emitting component and a light detector.
A few of the patent figures for this invention include those below.
Apple's patent FIG. 12 above is a perspective view of an illustrative fabric-based item such as a remote control or other electronic device with fabric covering; FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an illustrative self-righting fabric-based item with a cylindrical housing surface; and FIG. 16 is a side view of an illustrative fabric-based item with deformable housing walls. Apple further notes that when a user grabs the remote, the walls of the remote can compress inwardly.
Coincidentally Patently Apple posted a report on Saturday titled "As Smart Fabric Products from Google begin to take off, a Microsoft Patent shows their growing interest in this Market." Smart fabrics patents are not popping up quite frequently. A sign that tech companies are pushing their R&D in this new area of future products.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today