Apple has won a Patent for Finger-Mounted Devices to make Typing on a Full-Size Virtual Keyboard feel Natural
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 64 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent for unique finger-mounted devices that will make typing on a full-size keyboard feel natural, even though you might look weird wearing devices on all fingers. Then again, Apple notes that the finger devices could be built inside of a glove so as not to be seen.
Lenovo is one company that is continually working on the Yoga notebook with a virtual keyboard as presented below. The advantage being that the virtual keyboard area could transform into a drawing pad or gaming navigation pad or like a book with dual pages and more.
Apple's granted patent technically notes that a user may provide finger press input to a touch sensitive input surface or other input surface. The input surface may be formed from a two-dimensional touch sensor overlapping a display of an electronic device. The electronic device and associated equipment such as a finger-mounted device may form a system for gathering the finger press input from the user.
A sensor such as an optical proximity sensor or capacitive proximity sensor may be used in monitoring when the finger-mounted device and a user's finger in the device approach the input surface of the electronic device. In response to detection of motion of the finger towards the input surface, actuators in the finger-mounted device may squeeze the finger inwardly. This causes a finger pad portion of the finger to protrude outwardly towards the input surface, thereby softening impact between the finger and the input surface.
The electronic device may also have an array of components that repel the finger-mounted device and/or the finger in response to detection of the motion of the finger towards the input surface. These components may produce repulsive force using electrostatics, magnetic repulsion or attraction, ultrasonic output, and mechanical output. The components may, as an example, include an array of electromagnetics overlapping the input surface that magnetically repel a component such as a permanent magnet in the finger-mounted device.
Apple's patent FIG. 13 presented below shows how the housing of finger-mounted device 26A may wrap under the tip of finger (#10) while leaving fingernail (#18) exposed. The finger mounted devices could be individually worn or a gloves-accessory could be used with the finger-mounted devices built-in.
Apple's patent FIG. 14 is a diagram of a user's finger with an optional finger-mounted device and an associated electronic device in a system.
Apple's granted patent was originally filed in Q3 2018 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.