Apple Won 61 Patents Today covering AirPods Pro & Apple Pencil Tappable and Squeezable Housings, Project Titan Technologies & more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 61 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a granted patent that address the deformable materials used in Apple's AirPods Pro and Apple Pencil housings that accept taps and squeezes to control features on both devices. Other granted patents covered in this report relate to technologies behind Apple's autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle project known as Project Titan. Another patent relates to the use of a transparent display on Macs and yet another that covers AR experiences via a 'Light Field Capture' Camera System. And as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
AirPods Pro Related Patent
Apple granted patent relates to both AirPods Pro and Apple Pencil, both of which have recently added tap or force controls.
Apple's patent FIG. 2A below illustrates an earpiece (AirPods Pro) having a deformable surface as part of a user input component; FIG. 2C illustrates a stylus (future Apple Pencil) having a deformable surface as part of a user input component.
A "press and hold" on the stem triggers the force sensor to kick in and control "transparency mode" and "Active Noise Cancellation mode."
The current Apple Pencil offers "Double-tap to change tools." In the patent it's more of a squeeze to change tools. According to the patent "the term "deformable input section" will refer to a user interface part or section of an electronic device to which a user can apply squeeze, pinch or other forces to distort or deform it and effect an input operation to the electronic device." So, Apple's use of "double tap" would fall into this category.
The housing of the AirPods Pro and Apple Pencil both use an elastomeric material with high incompressibility is called an 'Incompressible Hyperelastic Material or IHM.
Apple's granted patent 10,659,866 was filed in Q3 2018 and published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For more details, check out the patent here.
Other Granted Patents of Interest
01. Project Titan Related: Remote sensing for detection and ranging of objects: It's a Project Titan patent relating to autonomous vehicle's camera system for terrestrial vehicle navigation using a series of cameras including a steerable lidar system, Near Infrared (NIR), a long-wave infrared (LWIR) microbolometer camera and HDR color camera and more.
The various embodiments described in Apple's granted patent may be employed in an autonomous vehicle, possibly in connection with other sensing devices, to facilitate control of acceleration, braking, steering, navigation, and other functions of the vehicle in various challenging environmental conditions during the day or at night.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 above is a block diagram of an example vehicle autonomy system in which infrared cameras, lidar systems, and other components may be employed.
02. Project Titan Related: External communication for vehicles: Apple notes that in the course of travelling from a point of origin to a destination in a vehicle transportation network, the driving intention of other vehicles may be useful information. In a decision-making layer of an autonomous vehicle or an infrastructure in the road, the determination of a driving intention may aid in making informed decisions. For example, to better anticipate the actions of a vehicle, an indication of vehicle intent may result in more efficient movement of vehicles through the vehicle transportation network.
An external communication apparatus may indicate, to other drivers and pedestrians, the intended actions of the vehicle. In this way, that is, by improving communication between vehicles, disruptions in the flow of vehicles through the vehicle transportation network may be decreased. Additionally, generating prompts and timely signals of vehicular intention may enhance vehicle performance by reducing the number of sudden stops, slowdowns, and accelerations that waste fuel and result in undue wear and tear on the vehicle.
03: Light Field Capture: A camera system using an array of camera that could deliver an immersive AR Experience for a headset, Macs and more. Patently Apple covered the first patent here in 2017. A few of Apple's patent claims change but nothing else.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 above illustrates a video conference on Macs using light field capture providing camera depth to the images for an immersive experience.
04: Transparent Display: Apple's granted patent relates to an electronic device that includes a display screen having a viewing area with a transparent portion enabling a user to view objects behind the electronic device by looking at the display screen. The electronic device may further include one or more electronic components, including a power source, processor, and circuitry for transmitting signals representative of image data to the display. In certain embodiments, the transparent portion may encompass the entire viewing area, or only a portion of the viewing area of the display. Patently Apple first covered this invention all the way back to 2011.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today