updated 02:44 pm EDT, Thu May 3, 2012
Future Apple touchscreens may form shapes, textures
A newly-discovered USPTO patent from Apple reveals some interesting technology that could grace future iPhones and iPads. Unlike some of the company's older haptic feedback patents, this one takes things a little further by introducing variable textures and other feedback translating to a user's finger. The patent, called Methods and Systems for Providing Haptic Control, talks of a stacked haptic element set-up.
Using the system, a touchscreen could be made to feel smooth or rough, among others, by way of different methods. Haptic elements could be placed into a contoured elastic sheet, including piezoelectric elements. They could be made up of tiered and haptic arrangements. The screen's shape could also change to form a dimple or divot under a finger.
Haptic feedback involves some kind of tactile method of responding to a user's touch or other stimulus. Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 controllers use a rumbling motion to shake the controller in a user's hand when their in-game character fires a gun or a vehicle collides with another, for example. Some phone touchscreens also trigger a shake or sound when they are pressed.
This latest filing was made in October, 2011.