Another Apple Patent published today supports Apple's recently announced 'AssistiveTouch' Technology
On May 19, Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Previews a Powerful new Apple Watch feature called AssistiveTouch that uses patented wrist-gesture technology & more." Our report included links to two Apple patents that support AssistiveTouch and today, the US Patent & Trademark Office published yet another patent application from Apple that protects this technology for Apple.
Apple's invention relates to Apple Watch with its optical sensor being used to recognize gestures made by a user of the watch. In one example, one or more light sources can be positioned on the back or skin-facing side of Apple Watch, a wristband, an armband, a leg-band, a chest-band, a headband, or the like.
The optical sensor can be positioned near the one or more light sources on the same side of the wearable device. During operation, light can be emitted from the one or more light sources and sensed using the optical sensor. Changes in the sensed light caused by movements of the user wearing the device can be used to recognize user gestures.
For example, light emitted from a light source can reflect off a wearer's skin, and the reflected light can be sensed using the optical sensor. When the wearer gestures in some way, such as by clenching the first on the arm where the device is worn, the reflected light can change perceptibly due to muscle contraction, the device shifting on the wrist, skin stretching, the distance changing between the optical sensor and the wearer's skin, or the like.
Various changing features of the reflected and sensed light can be used to recognize a deliberate gesture, such as changes in angle of incidence, intensity, position, wavelength, or the like.
In some examples, incorporating an optical sensor in Apple Watch and using it to recognize wearer gestures can provide a convenient way to interact with the wearable device. Such gesture recognition can supplement or even replace other interfaces, such as touchscreens, buttons, dials, or the like, and it can be used to perform the same or similar functions, such as selecting a display element, navigating to a different view, changing the time, changing a display, answering a phone call, or any of a variety of other functions.
In some examples, such gesture recognition can provide one-handed or hands-free device operation, which can provide convenience as well as safety (e.g., when carrying groceries, driving, or the like). It should be understood that many other applications are possible, and gesture recognition as discussed herein can provide a variety of other benefits and enhance a user's experience in many other ways.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an exemplary wearable device near a user's skin; FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary wearable device separated a distance from a user's skin; FIG. 4 illustrates an open hand of a user wearing an exemplary wearable device and FIG. 5 illustrates a clenched first of a user wearing an exemplary wearable device.
Apple's patent FIG. 10 above illustrates an exemplary process for recognizing gestures using an optical sensor and performing functions corresponding to the recognized gestures.
Although Apple never published this as a patent application in order to keep this project secret, Apple now states that this is a continuation patent. Without a previous patent to compare it to, we're unaware what has been updated. With that said, Apple's patent covers 20 new claims covering various technicalities behind this invention.
To review more details and Apple's new patent claims, read Apple's continuation patent application number 20210157414 here. This is now considered a patent fulfilled.