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Apple Wins Patent for Pressure-Sensitive Device Casings

Apple was today granted a 2009 patent application to allow users to control a device by pressing on, or squeezing, parts of the casing. An illustration in the patent shows potential touch-sensitive areas across a whole range of different devices:

The patent, discovered by AppleInsider, combines two different methods of detecting and measuring the amount of pressure applied: one physical, the other electrical. The capacitance test, which works in a similar way to touchscreens, would enable the device to tell human touch apart from accidental pressure applied while the device was carried in a pocket or bag.
Sensors disposed within the housing, in some embodiments directly beneath the surface, can detect when deflection occurs, which in turn denotes stress or pressure. In some embodiments, the sensors are connected to a printed circuit board that can in turn illuminate a light or other indicator when a minimum amount of readable stress is applied … A processor can take the measurements with their corresponding deflection rates, and translate them into device actions. For example, a threshold stress level is reached when a user presses down on a certain area of a device's housing. The processor determines that the capacitance change is outside the bounds of normal readings and can trigger a UI event or other device feature in response. The system can be customized to detect patterns and varied sensitivities to support a broad range of tasks.
Apple patents a great many technologies it never uses, either as potential solutions that are later rejected or to protect against competitor use, although the metal casing of the iPhone 5 could make the system practical on any future iPhone models with a similar casing.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago
So, if you squeeze the casing hard, it can tell the antenna to stop working properly ;)
Rating: 9 Votes
33 months ago
I think that unless you build it and sell it, you shouldn't be holding those patent rights after a specific period of time.

maybe I am dumb
Rating: 8 Votes
33 months ago
Mama's got a squeeze box...
Rating: 6 Votes
33 months ago
All these devices look so old! I can't believe in just 4 years how much mobile technology has been evolved!
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago
Doesn't apple use something like this in the apple(mighty) mouse?
Rating: 4 Votes
33 months ago

Great but a judge will probably reverse nearly half of this decision in a few months. :p

Have to agree here, I think this is nothing more than what is already out there.
Rating: 3 Votes
33 months ago
Now presenting the iSquishy.

- You're squeezing it wrong.
Rating: 3 Votes
33 months ago
so, in other words.

replace "button" with "button". but call it "pressure sensitive apparatus".


Apple just patented a pressure sensitive physical button. geeze, we've never seen these before. Dress them up in any way, and it' still the same thing
Rating: 3 Votes
32 months ago

Pretty much a BS patent grant. And I'm sure will be invalidated when first tested in court.

My monitor already has touch sensitive buttons to control the settings. So what's so new about this that it requires a patent, just a different location?

The US patent office has become the laughing stock of the world and with these kind of stupid patents it won't be long until the rest of the world starts ignoring these US patents altogether.
Rating: 3 Votes
33 months ago
MacRumors: Stop your asinine editorializing.

I challenge you to name ONE time Apple has used a patent against a competitor that wasn't part of an Apple product.

Stop characterizing Apple as a patent troll, which is what you're doing when you claim they "patent things ... they don't use... to prevent competitors from using them."

Prove that, when they don't use something, but a competitor wants to, that apple doesn't give them a cheap or free license.

After all, despite Samsungs rampant violations and strong competitive position, Apple didn't take them to court at first, Apple just offered them a license!
Rating: 3 Votes

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