A new Apple patent application recently filed hints of pressure sensors that may be used for iPhone and iPads. The smart bezel will translate to a better interaction between the device and users through more accurate interpretation of swipes and gestures.
The new application detailing the use of force sensing was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday.
"The computing device includes a processor, a touch interface in communication with the processor and configured to detect a touch signal corresponding to an object approaching or contacting a surface, and at least three force sensors in communication with the processor and configured to detect a force signal corresponding to an object exerting a force on the surface. In response to the force the at least processor determines a force centroid location and the touch signals are processed by the processor by analyzing the force centroid location," the abstract of the patent application "Gesture and Touch Input Detection Through Force Sensing" read.
According to the patent, the force sensors on the bezels can be utilized to enhance input detection on the touchscreen. The system, using the pressure sensors, will triangulate the source of input and determine its force centroid location or the center where the force was applied. It can help in scenarios where one thumb is resting on one side of the screen and other fingers are interacting with the display. The force centroid will disregard the insignificant output from the resting thumb and process input from the real gestures done by the user.
"The force centroid location may be used to analyze one or more touch inputs and/or user force inputs to the computing device. As a first example, the force centroid may be used in conjunction with any detected touch input to determine if a touch input is part of a force gesture that began off of the touch screen sensitive area, such that the touch input may be treated as a touch gesture. As a second example, the force centroid may be used to determine if one or more touch inputs are accidental...," the patent application read.
The patent application also implies of possible virtual buttons that can be used outside the active touch area. Such buttons can help developers make most of the screen real estate.
While the technology industry may point to iPhones and iPads as the primary targets for the patent, the company also mentioned laptop computers, digital music players, and portable gaming stations as potential beneficiaries.