Saturday, July 4, 2009
According to a recent MacRumors.com article written by Arnold Kim, Apple's future versions of the iPhone may offer haptic tactile feedback:
"Multi-touch display screen with localized tactile feedback"
"Apple proposes including a grid of piezoelectronic actuators that can be activated on command. By fluctuating the frequency of these actuators, the user will "feel" different surfaces as their finger moves across it. As an example, a display could include a virtual click wheel which vibrates at a different frequency as the center. Users could easily sense the difference and use the click wheel without having to look at it."
Arnold links to another patent application that will enable use fingerprint signatures to control and interact with a device. Apple will have all devices cornered, from what I can tell...
According to the description, "The present invention can be employed in any electronic device or system that permit user control, including any portable, mobile, hand-held, or miniature consumer electronic device. Illustrative electronic devices or systems can include, but are not limited to, music players, video players, still image players, game players, other media players, music recorders, video recorders, cameras, other media recorders, radios, medical equipment, calculators, cellular phones, other wireless communication devices, personal digital assistances, programmable remote controls, pagers, laptop computers, printers, computer mice, other computer accessories, cars or portions thereof, or any combination thereof. Miniature electronic devices may have a form factor that is smaller than that of hand-held devices. Illustrative miniature electronic devices can include, but are not limited to, watches, rings, necklaces, belts, accessories for belts, headsets, accessories for shoes, virtual reality devices, other wearable electronics, accessories for sporting equipment, accessories for fitness equipment, key chains, or combinations thereof."
There is a provision for multi-user interaction:
"Furthermore, while the processes described above illustratively register, detect, and respond to the fingerprints of one user per device, a device of the present invention can be configured to register, detect, and respond to the fingerprints of multiple users."
Arnold links to a third patent application:
Touch Screen RFID Tag Reader
The US Patent Office & Trademark Patent Application Full Text and Image Database is a great place to explore if you have lots of time on your hands!
(Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.)