Apple Pencil may one day include an Advanced Color Sensor System allowing Artists to Match Colors from a Palette or Real-World Objects
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a possible new Apple Pencil that contains an advanced color sensor system that could accurately sense a color from a palette or a real-world object and then transfer it accurately to a drawing on an iPad or even a future iPhone, according to Apple.
Apple notes that a color sensor may be coupled to the housing of an Apple Pencil. The color sensor may have a plurality of photodetectors each of which measures light for a different respective color channel.
The color sensor may also have one or more light-emitting devices. Control circuitry may use the light-emitting devices to illuminate an external object while using the photodetectors to measure light that is reflected back from the illuminated object to determine the color of the external object. The color may be used to control the color of objects being drawn with a drawing program on a second electronic device such as an iPad or iPhone.
The housing of the Apple Pencil may form an elongated computer stylus shaft. The shaft may have a tip for supplying electromagnetic signals to the touch sensitive display of the second electronic device and may have an opposing end. The color sensor may be located at the end opposite the tip or may be optically coupled to the tip using a light guide.
Input devices such as proximity sensors, orientation sensors, and buttons may be used in determining when a color measurement is to be made using the color sensor. The input devices may include a switch that is triggered when the shaft is pressed against an external object, a proximity sensor that detects when the color sensor is adjacent to the external objects, and an orientation sensor that determines when the stylus has been placed in a given orientation to take a color measurement (e.g., an upside down orientation).
If desired, other triggering inputs may be used in determining when to gather color measurements with the color sensor.
Apple's patent FIGS. 1, 3 and 4 below present us with an overview of a new Apple Pencil system that could detect colors accurately from a palette or object that could then be transferred to a drawing or painting on an iPad or future iPhone.
In particular, patent FIG. 4 above is a cross-sectional side view of an end of an illustrative electronic device having a color sensor that may gather color measurements in response to activation of a switch and/or other input such as sensor input from proximity and/or orientation sensors.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a cross-sectional side view of an Apple Pencil having a light guide for guiding light between a tip of the electronic device and a color sensor mounted in an interior portion of the electronic device in accordance with an embodiment.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 above is a flow chart of illustrative operations associated with using a system in accordance with an embodiment.
Lastly, Apple notes that the color measurement may correspond to an inanimate object such as a printed item, a colored real-world object such as a piece of furniture, a portion of a user's home, toys, decorative objects, household objects, plants, other outdoor items, and/or other objects in the user's environment.
The color measurement may also, if desired, correspond to human skin, the color of other human body parts, or other living items or biological samples (e.g., to capture health information).
If desired, color measurements may be made on pH test cards or other color sensitive test cards that have been exposed to bodily fluids (e.g., for testing of glucose, protein, ketones, pH, etc.). Color measurements may be made on food, cosmetics, art supplies, and/or any other objects such as a Pantone color palette.
Apple's patent application 20200225778 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back Q4 2019. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Mahdi Nezamabadi: Color Scientist. Previously worked at Canon USA
Po-Chieh Hung: Color Scientist.
Two others listed on the patent application include Tze Yong Poh and Nicholas C. Lewty that have no LinkedIn profile and are from Singapore.