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Apple Details Pressure-Sensitive Touchscreen in New Patent Application

An Apple patent detailing pressure-sensitive touchscreens was published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, reports AppleInsider. Entitled "Gesture and touch input detection through force sensing," the application describes a system in which a traditional touchscreen is complemented by multiple force-sensors in order to better log unique gestures and more complex input.

apple_pressure_patent2
The patent application introduces itself by describing the problems with current touchscreens found in devices, noting that some gestures such as those involving a swipe or pinch from a screen's edge are not recognized properly, or result in unintended action. Apple suggests that by deploying three or more force sensors in a touchscreen, a device can determine specific central pressure points and take appropriate action.
The touch screen is configured to detect a touch signal corresponding to a user finger approaching or contacting the touch screen. The at least three pressure sensors are configured to detect a pressure signal corresponding to an object proving pressure on a surface. In response to the pressure signal the processor determines a centroid location relative to the surface and the touch signal is processed by the processor by analyzing the centroid location.
apple_pressure_patent1
Apple also states that central points determined by force sensors can determine if one or more touches are accidental, which is slightly similar to the current palm rejection technology found on the iPad Air and iPad mini. The illustration above shows a user resting the right thumb on one side of an iPad's screen while continuing to use the tablet with the left thumb. Currently, this input combination cannot be performed on iOS devices, and would potentially allow for new interactions if enabled.

Furthermore, the patent notes that the force sensors can be positioned outside of an active touch region, which could allow for users to interact with user interface elements such as menu options that extend well beyond the immediate area of a touchscreen. This would allow a device the option to render more elements onscreen while retaining key touch elements needed offscreen, offering a secondary mode of input.

Currently, it is unknown whether Apple plans to create such a touchscreen for its products or not, but the company has shown an interest in pressure sensitive technology before. An Apple patent detailing the integration of a pressure sensitive button in a touchscreen was published last November, and a patent that described pressure-sensitive device casings was awarded to Apple in March 2013.

The patent application, which was originally filed on January 30, 2012 and published today, also lists Nima Parivar and Wayne C. Westerman as its inventors.

Top Rated Comments

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9 months ago
Yet they're completely ignoring the portal technology shown by the left finger in the second picture? :confused:

Rating: 10 Votes
9 months ago
For the digital art community, this is exciting news.
Rating: 3 Votes
9 months ago
To me, this could also mean that they can do away with the bezel around the screen - which would be good!
Rating: 3 Votes
9 months ago
Serious question.

Have any of these leaked patent applications from Apple EVER predicted a real upcoming product? I'm genuinely curious because these weird patents from Apple keep being posted by Macrumors and others but I can't remember a single instance where one of these strange product type patents predicted an actual future product. Does anyone else know?
Rating: 3 Votes
9 months ago

For the digital art community, this is exciting news.


An even more exciting one would be adding true Wacom support...
Rating: 2 Votes
9 months ago

Even though a home button is present on the device sketch, it wouldn't surprise me if this tech was used to remove the necessity of a home button.


Did the home button run over your childhood pet or something? I find it extremely useful.
Rating: 2 Votes
9 months ago

To me, this could also mean that they can do away with the bezel around the screen - which would be good!


Even if they could, I don't think like it's as good of an idea as it sounds like. Holding the iPad by the bezel isn't just about avoiding extraneous touch inputs; if there wasn't a bezel your thumb would be covering part of the screen at all times, limiting your access to visual data.
Rating: 1 Votes
9 months ago

[url=http://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif]Image (http://www.macrumors.com/2014/01/30/pressure-touchscreen-patent/)[/url]


An Apple patent (http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220140028575%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20140028575&RS=DN/20140028575) detailing pressure-sensitive touchscreens was published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, reports (http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/01/30/apple-details-pressure-sensitive-iphone-touchscreen-in-patent-filing) AppleInsider (http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/01/30/apple-details-pressure-sensitive-iphone-touchscreen-in-patent-filing). Entitled "Gesture and touch input detection through force sensing," the application describes a system in which a traditional touchscreen is complimented by multiple force-sensors in order to better log unique gestures and more complex input.


"complemented", please
Rating: 1 Votes
9 months ago

Even if they could, I don't think like it's as good of an idea as it sounds like. Holding the iPad by the bezel isn't just about avoiding extraneous touch inputs; if there wasn't a bezel your thumb would be covering part of the screen at all times, limiting your access to visual data.


Not to mention the location of the FaceTime camera and the home button.

However, I think the top and bottom bezel could very well be reduced while keeping the home button and FaceTime camera.

I think the home button is here to stay, especially now with TouchID. It's part of Apple's simplicity. Want to back to the home screen: press the only 'front' button on the device.
Rating: 1 Votes
9 months ago

Everything was going fine, until i picked up on this word "complex input"

If these are to be extended to areas outside the touch screen, how would a user even know ?

All i can see here is more help will be needed on the operation of their device... as a "How do I do...? " type issues.

If people are confused now, they haven't seen anything yet.

I reckon Apple will go for this, why wouldn't they ?? They like anything that's 'touchy'

Its only convenient to them, not to anyone else. In fact all this stuff causes more confusion for people, which is why Apple must teach people...

It was never like this before gestures came along..


I just wish Apple would not only make products easy to use, but also think about their customers.... Then again,, if they provide extra help, then it's their own fault....

Microsoft doesn't need to do this, because its second nature to use Windows..

Apple must have workshops because, from my understanding, Apple's comes up with too much junk like this, too many ways to do the same thing, only because they have to honor Steve's "one button crap", Not looking out for everyone here..

I don't mind a few ways to do a few things, same with touch on iPad/iPhone, but going over the top with all sorts of more finger work just because it looks "cool" and not because it will save you time, Apple really lost the plot here.


Your post can be summed up with your last sentence. What is this rambling?
Rating: 1 Votes

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