On August 13, 2009, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application of Apple’s that reveals a new iPod and iPhone feature being devised. The feature focuses on compensating for motion on displays and touch screens when using your iPod or iPhone on the subway or in a car. It could also be used in high vibration environments such as a tank monitoring and control system for a chemical processing plant or a personal entertainment system located with an airline seat back.
Shifting the Display and/or Input Regions to Compensate for Motion
In all of the embodiments shown in this report, the device noted herein as patent point 10 include a motion sensing device. The motion sensing device may be any device configured to measure motion or acceleration such as an accelerometer or a gyroscope. In one embodiment, the motion sensing device may be a three axes linear accelerometer that includes a sensing element and an integrated circuit interface for providing the measured acceleration to the processor(s).
Input from the motion sensing device may be used to adjust the display 16 and produce motion compensated screens or modified screens with scaled images.
In Apple’s patent FIG. 3 noted above, we see that device 10 has a motion compensated screen (50). The motion compensated screen facilitates viewing of the display (16) while the device is moving. As illustrated, the device has been moved to the right, as generally indicated by arrows 51, from its original position 52 to a new position 53. This change in position may be caused by a user or by environmental instability. For example, a user’s hands may shake when holding the device, causing it to shift. In another example, environmental vibrations, such as those experienced in a car, subway, or industrial setting, may cause the device to shift. As will be appreciated, although the device has been moved to the right in FIG. 3, the present technique may be applied to any combination of device movements in a variety of directions.
As shown in FIG. 3, although the device has shifted to a new position 53, the screen 50 has compensated for the motion so the images 20 have stayed in relatively the same position from the perspective of the user. That is, the images 20, such as the telephone and television, were on the left side of the screen while other images 20, such as the calendar and envelope, were on the right side of the screen. However, when the device moved to its new position 53, as indicated by the arrows 51, the images 20 did not move along with the device. Thus, the motion compensated screen 50 shows the images 20 in new positions relative to the device.
For example, images 20, such as the telephone and television, are positioned partially off the left side of the screen, while other images 20, such as the envelope and clock, are positioned near the center of the screen. In other words, the position of these images 20 has stayed the same, while the device has moved around them. Additionally, new images 54 have begun to appear on the edge of the screen 50. In some embodiments, these new images 54 may be originally present on the screen 50 but not shown on the display 16 because they are located outside the display borders.
The method may begin by sensing motion of a device to produce motion data. In one embodiment, an accelerometer may sense motion along one, two, or three axis. The device may then compare the motion data to preset motion limits to determine if the motion data is within the motion limits. The motion limits define a range of motion where compensation of screens may occur. In other words, if the motion data falls within the motion limits, the screen may be motion compensated. On the other hand, if the motion data falls outside the motion limits, for example motion that is too slow or too fast, then no compensation may occur.
Automatic Icon Motion Compensation
Apple’s patent FIG. 7 illustrates the device with a motion compensated touch screen 100 in accordance with one embodiment. You’ll note that the location of the input regions 104 may be varied in response to the motion of the user’s finger which is moving in an up and down motion, as indicated generally by arrows 107. This may be caused by unsteadiness of a user’s hands. The device 10 senses this motion and may adjust for it by producing a motion compensated input region 108. As shown, the motion compensated input region 108 is no longer aligned behind the image 20 of the envelope. Instead, the compensated input region 108 has been shifted upwards and to the left to account for the motion of the object 106. In the illustrated embodiment, the motion compensated input region 108 corresponds an image 20 depicting an envelope, which may correspond to a mail application. Consequently, when the input region 108 is selected, the device may open a mail application. The adjustment of the input region facilitates selection of the image 20 despite vibration or interfering motion of the user’s finger. In other words, the motion compensated input regions 108 make it easier for a user to select items on a display screen.
An Apportioned Display
In Apple’s patent FIG. 13 noted above, we see another example of the device, which may produce scaled selectable images and an apportioned display. The device includes a screen 206 displaying a map, which may be accessed through an application such as Google Maps. In the illustrated embodiment, border areas 208 located at the top and bottom of the screen 206 include selectable input features 210. The input features may include selectable arrows, such as those shown at the bottom of the screen, that allow a user to scroll through multiple screens. The input features also may include an input area, such as the browser bar shown at the top of the screen that allows a user to enter information such as a location to display on the screen. For example, a user may enter the term “pizza” in the browser bar to display the location of pizza restaurants on the screen. Selectable images 212 displayed on the screen show various selectable locations on the map. For example, the selectable images illustrated in FIG. 13 may represent the locations of pizza restaurants a user may select to view details about each location such as the phone number or website. Input regions (not shown for clarity) may be located behind the selectable images to receive user input. A background 214, shown here as streets, provides context for the selectable images displayed on the screen.
Apple’s patent FIG. 14 depicts the device of FIG. 13 with an apportioned display. As illustrated, the device is moving in a side-to-side motion as indicated generally by arrows 218. This motion may be caused by a user or by environmental instability. In response to the motion, the apportioned display contains scaled images 220. These scaled images are larger versions of the selectable images 212 shown in FIG. 13.
Apple credits Michael and Mason Lee as the inventors of patent application 20090201246.
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Researched and Written by Jack Purcher
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