The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 37 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we briefly cover possible future Apple Watch Bands with embedded gas and other sensors and more. And as always, we wrap up this week’s granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Future Smart Fabric Apple Watch Bands will embed Gas Sensors, Visual Output, Audio, Touch Input +
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a granted patent for Apple that relates to fabric-based items and, more particularly, to fabric-based items having strands of material with embedded components.
Apple’s invention covers embedding circuitry into woven materials that could, for example, make a future Apple Watch band, their first smart band that will provide many advantages over today’s bands such as adding audio and tactile input and more.
Although the invention could apply to a wide range of future products such protective covers, advanced versions of Apple’s Smart Keyboard, clothing, furniture, wearable electronic devices, and other items using fabric, the focus for this invention is a future smart fabric Apple Watch band.
According to Apple’s invention, a fabric-based item may include fabric formed from intertwined strands of material with embedded circuitry. The fabric-based item may include woven fabric, knit fabric, or other fabric.
The circuitry in the fabric-based item may gather input from a user and from the user’s surroundings. The circuitry may supply visual output, audio output, tactile output, and/or other output.
Apple’s patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative system with one or more items; FIG. 2 is side view of illustrative fabric.
Apple’s patent FIG. 4 above is a cross-sectional end view of an illustrative strand of material with embedded conductive lines; FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional end view of an illustrative strand of material such as a strand of tubing; and FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional end view of an illustrative strand of material with an electrical component.
More specifically, Apple notes that FIG. 1 may be a smart strap for Apple Watch and it may be coupled to the metal attachment. In the “Control Circuitry #12” could contain microprocessors, microcontrollers, digital signal processors.
In the I/O segment of system 8 may include Sensors such as temperature sensors, pressure sensors, force sensors, gas sensors (e.g., carbon monoxide sensors), particulate sensors, moisture sensors, light sensors, magnetic sensors, capacitive sensors (e.g., sensors for touch or proximity measurements), gesture sensors, image sensors, proximity sensors, touch sensors, button sensors (e.g., switches coupled to movable button members or button regions), sensors that gather other types of input and/or hybrid sensors that include sensor functionality from any two or more of these sensors. Input and output can also be provided using accessories (e.g., other items 10 such as pointing devices, etc.).
Apple’s patent FIG. 16 below is a perspective view of a pair of strands having respective protruding and recessed alignment features; FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional side view of a branching strand.
For more details, review Apple’s granted patent 11,233,012.
Other granted patents of mild interest include “Ultrasonic water-agnostic touch detection sensor,” (patent 11,231,816), and “Electronic devices with curved display surfaces,” (patent 11,231,814).