An iPhone with a 3D screen? An Apple patent shows the way
Will next generations of Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad have advanced touchscreens that can give users more interaction –like popup maps and buttons?
This was one of the possible applications of a patent application by Apple before the US Patent and Trademark Office, PatentlyApple.com reported.
"The system will actually allow an iDevice display to deform so that it could provide the user with a button, an arrow or even a geological map to physically pop right out of the screen to give it 3D depth. If that wasn't cool enough, Apple's patent discusses a flexible OLED display that could be used for video glasses," PatentlyApple said.
It said the secret lies in layered haptics, which provides tactile or touch feedback to the user.
Haptics are what provide the interaction - such as "rumbling" - in devices like video game controllers.
PatentlyApple said Apple's patent application was originally filed in the last quarter of 2010 and only made public May 3 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple's latest invention relates to systems and methods for providing layered haptic controls, which may include vibration, shape change or a combination of actuations.
In Apple's latest patent application, it said its new invention may adopt a tiered haptic response approach where one or more arrays of shape change elements may provide tactile interaction via an elastic screen interface.
Elements in the system may allow shape change, vibration, net displacement, bending, deforming, any other suitable actuation.
"Stacked arrays may be used to create a contoured screen surface such as, for example, contour maps, shaped buttons, moving contours or shapes, or other surfaces with multi-scale features," PatentlyApple said.
Elastic material for the screen may include thin sheets of any suitable materials such as elastomers like rubber or thermoplastics, polyurethane, polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, and polyester.
The tiered haptics could be applied to flexible OLED displays including video glasses, Apple added.
Also for Macbooks
PatentlyApple noted the new haptics system could also apply to traditional devices such as a MacBook, an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod touch, a computer monitor or other devices like a television and video projector.
It could also apply to monochrome e-ink displays, it added.
PatentlyApple also said the haptic systems may map graphics onto contoured screen features - such as a video clip being displayed.
"I wonder if this could apply to video games to give controls a textural feel and depth," it said.
On the other hand, PatentlyApple said regenerative power management may prolong battery life by recovering energy supplied by a user or other tactile stimulus. — TJD, GMA News
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