Apple Testing Use of Smart Fabric for Future Wearables
Apple has been testing various methods to make its wearable device easier and more natural to use, be it the use of smart bands or additional sensors. A new patent reveals how the company is testing the use of smart fabrics that could double up as buttons.
Similar to various touchscreen-compatible gloves, Apple plans to use a conductive fabric mechanism to make wearable devices more comfortable to wear. One of the recent patents filed by the Cupertino-based company talks about how fabric mixed with conductive strands can be used to adjust the tension and fit of a smartwatch’s band.
“Middle-of-strand knots” can be spread throughout the fabric of a band. When current is passed through such knots, the tension of the fabric can be adjusted accordingly. Moreover, conductive strands could intersect at the node and multiple such strands could be used to form knots. Using the same current-passing mechanism through those knots, a magnetic field can be generated that can be used to keep the fabric close or away from the device.
Another patent filed by the company talks about fabric domes that could potentially behave like buttons. Instead of relying on usual buttons or switches, fabric domes with two layers can be used as buttons and switches. The lower layer can be laid flat, while the upper fabric can be dome-shaped, effectively creating a pocket of air between the two layers. When the dome is pressed, the two layers contact through contact areas, forming a switch.
The patent even suggests that these dome-shaped fabric switches can be used as a membrane for keyboards with tile-shaped keycaps. The same technology can be potentially used with smart speakers, with the smart fabric covering the device can also be used for touch-based interaction.
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via iPhone Hacks http://www.iphonehacks.com/2020/02/apple-testing-use-of-smart-fabric-for-future-wearables.html
link : http://www.iphonehacks.com/2020/02/apple-testing-use-of-smart-fabric-for-future-wearables.html
February 18, 2020 at 04:56PM