Apple’s patents for tactile feedback technology

Main Point:

Apple Inc. has patented tactile feedback technology in an electronic device that will enable the device to interact with the user through vibration, heat, electrical or visual ways.

Study Further:

This feedback will be helpful in smaller devices in which a decrease in input and output size may pose a problem. Moreover, this feedback will be helpful for people with certain disabilities such as blind people, and people in certain other situations such as people using mobile devices in darkness.

In order to use tactile feedback, electronic device would be provided with menus and selectable options to facilitate the use of this feature as you can see in the figures 6 and 7 (of the patent below).

Tactile feedback selectable options (Credit: Apple)
Tactile feedback selectable options (Credit: Apple)

Different types of feedbacks:

Different types of feedbacks provided by the electronic devices are:

  • Tactile feedback
  • Visual feedback
  • Audio feedback
  • Olfactory feedback

Tactile feedback:

Tactile feedback is one of the advancing technologies also known as haptic technologies. Many of the technological companies are working on haptic technology. Apple itself filed a patent in February 2013 for a more accurate haptic feedback system suitable for multitouch devices.

Different types of tactile feedbacks in the present invention:

Vibrational feedback:

One of the tactile feedbacks will be provided in the form of vibration. Although vibrational feedback is already present in a number of devices but here we will get something new. Vibration would occur either in the whole device or in a smaller portion of the device such as the portion of the screen under the user’s fingers.

Temperature based feedback:

Another approach of the feedback will be in the form of temperature or heat-based tactile feedback such as change in the temperature of one or more portions of the electronic device.

Electrical feedback:

There is another type of feedback, i.e. electrical tactile feedback that will release small, localized or general electrical discharges.

There would be a combination of feedbacks in some situations.

Use of tactile feedbacks:

Tactile feedbacks would be available for certain situations such as

  • Detection of particular types of communications
  • Duration of communications operation or
  • Amount of data transfer and received
  • Status of the device
  • Guidance of the users such as in the identification of cursor, lines or words.

These tactile feedbacks would also allow the developers to develop interesting new applications for iOS devices.

Part fun, part function (Credit: Apple)

References:

Method and apparatus for localization of haptic feedback – USPTO

Tactile feedback in an electronic device – USPTO

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.