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Apple Illustration for Tactile Touchscreen  (Source: Gizmodo)
Apple patent application outlines method of providing tactile feedback with a touchscreen

With the release of the iPhone, Apple brought multi-touch technology to the forefront. In March of 2006 Apple filed a patent application for a “Force Imaging Input Device and System” that appears to be meant to give tactile feel to touchscreen.

The patent application was published this week and outlines a touch pad that includes two sets of conductive traces separated by a spring membrane. Apple says when force is applied the spring membrane deforms, moving the two sets of traces closer together.

The patent application abstract goes on to say that the resulting change in mutual capacitance is used to generate and image indicative of the amount or intensity of force applies. The device says one or more inputs at the same time could be read.

The patent application describes a method where the amount of pressure applied to the touch pad would activate different commands or displays. One of the main complaints of the iPhone and most other touchscreen devices is that there is no tactile feedback to allow you to know when a button is touched or pressed.

Using the method described in this application, not only would tactile feedback be provided, but the traces that sense touch could activate one change and pressing the screen would activate another. This could be used to do things like change the color of a button when it is pressed, or initiate a vibration when the touch pad senses a touch to a button. When pushed, the tactile feedback would be there for the button press potentially alleviating the lack of tactile feel when operating a touch screen device.



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ok, someone please tell me
By Quiksel on 10/8/2007 8:27:55 AM , Rating: 3
is Apple actually INNOVATING here?

I thought that all they did was sell flashy products that were really no better than their competitors, just at much higher prices. Could it be that after all that nay-saying that's cool these days, they are doing something that *gasp* no one else is doing right now?

Inconceivable! (/channeling Princess Bride)




RE: ok, someone please tell me
By TomZ on 10/8/2007 8:43:50 AM , Rating: 2
No, they're just patenting something obvious. :o)


RE: ok, someone please tell me
By ZimZum on 10/8/2007 8:47:08 AM , Rating: 2
RE: ok, someone please tell me
By TomZ on 10/8/2007 9:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
From Immersion's web site...

Since our beginning in 1993, our patent portfolio in the U.S. and other countries has grown to more than 600 issued or pending patents. Many of these are in tactile feedback – also known as haptic technology.

Sounds like Apple might be planning to pick a patent fight.


RE: ok, someone please tell me
By theapparition on 10/8/2007 10:27:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Using the method described in this application, not only would tactile feedback be provided

Interesting reading, but overall, I don't get where the "tactile" feedback in the apple patent comes from. It's just two membranes, where the outer one is deformable on touch. It still doesn't give positive idication of placement, which the best tactile feeback devices (read that as "buttons") do. It will be interesting to see how this differs from the many other patents out there for touch screen displays.

The only thing that this does is it may provide a visual indication of highlighted buttons, and then sense the actual "push", a far cry from true tactile sensation.

quote:
This could be used to do things like change the color of a button when it is pressed, or initiate a vibration when the touch pad senses a touch to a button.

This can be done now with standard touch screens, when a "virtual" button is pushed, it can change color, or initiate any number of actions. What I think is meant in the article, is that there would be a "touch" action, and a separate "push" action.


RE: ok, someone please tell me
By rdeegvainl on 10/8/2007 12:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
I guess they are too busy at apple making things like this that they didn't realize something. I was using a touch screen, that could change the color of the button i was pressing, years ago. It was a McDonalds register.
Then again, apple would never think of learning from McDonalds, cause it would hurt their image and isn't hip enough.


RE: ok, someone please tell me
By theapparition on 10/8/2007 1:07:35 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Then again, apple would never think of learning from McDonalds, cause it would hurt their image and isn't hip enough.

Wrong.......Haven't you heard of the iMac.....they've been in cahoots all along!!!

All jokes asside, the one advantage of this is that you could program it to change color when you finger is on it (to confirm button selection) but it only activates when pushed. Think of it as a dual mode touch screen. My PDA does something similar, I select something by touching it, but only activate the control by double clicking it. Whoohooo, let file a patent.
I'm being cynical, but I don't see this as a great advancement.


RE: ok, someone please tell me
By rdeegvainl on 10/9/2007 6:48:14 AM , Rating: 2
I see they are in cahoots,
but still the register I used, when you pressed the button it would change color.


RE: ok, someone please tell me
By Hare on 10/8/2007 1:13:39 PM , Rating: 2
Eh... Immersion has "VibeTonz" technology which is basically software control over vibrating motors. That's it.

What Apple proposes is something a bit different. Actually Nokia made a similar patent just a few days ago so Apple is not the only one working on haptic / tactile touchscreens. The press just likes Apple so no one knows that there are bigger players doing the same thing.

Btw. I wouldn't even speculate a patent fight just because other companies have patents from the same field.


RE: ok, someone please tell me
By SanLC504 on 10/8/2007 9:54:33 AM , Rating: 2
Well, not only that, but I've heard of several products in the past that have had tactile feedback with touch buttons on LCD displays.

Back in 2004, Alpine released an automobile DVD head unit called the IVA-D300 that had "tactile feedback" on its touch-sensitive display. Read about it here:

http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/ISEO-rgbtcspd/re...


Taking advice from maddox.
By i4mt3hwin on 10/8/2007 8:34:38 AM , Rating: 4
"First of all, the E70 has a full keyboard, not some shitty stripped down, tap-and-pray smudgy piece of shit. Nokia uses a technology that's even more advanced than the iPhone's tap screen, allowing you to actually feel the keys you press as you're pressing them! The technology is called "tactile response," and it allows you to do things like dial a phone number without staring at your screen like a shit-chucking ape. In fact, every other cellphone ever made has this technology, sometimes called "buttons.""

Obviously one of them read the best page in the universe.

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=ip...




RE: Taking advice from maddox.
By DeepBlue1975 on 10/8/2007 9:06:28 AM , Rating: 1
Don't downrate him!

That link is one of the funniest things I've read in the last month. Whether you like the iPhone or not, that site is plain funny. You just need a little bit of something called "sense of humour" to find it funny, though...


RE: Taking advice from maddox.
By murphyslabrat on 10/8/2007 9:48:47 AM , Rating: 2
I couldn't access it, my school's web-filter calls it "tasteless" X(


RE: Taking advice from maddox.
By Misty Dingos on 10/8/2007 10:45:33 AM , Rating: 2
Neither could I. My work called it "Personal Pages;Profanity". No doubt the site it interesting then. All the good ones (except DailyTech!) are blocked. Damn no fun IT guys.


RE: Taking advice from maddox.
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/8/2007 1:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
Same, mine comes up as Profanity/Tasteless as well. Emailed the link home, will check it once I get back.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 10/8/2007 6:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Yea ok, I find that amusing. A little bit of hate and anger there but funny nonetheless.


RE: Taking advice from maddox.
By i4mt3hwin on 10/8/2007 11:08:59 AM , Rating: 1
God I hate Apple!
By Misty Dingos on 10/8/2007 8:33:03 AM , Rating: 2
God I hate Apple when they come up with something that is actually interesting. It is most infuriating.

They pull some crap on their customers like the punitive measures used to convert the iPhone into the iBrick. I don't think a company should treat a customer that way for some reason. Even a 'bad' customer. That makes them easy to hate.

Go to their store in the mall (step daughter’s birthday present) and it is like walking into a giant Apple commercial. I swear I heard a pump in the back ground running to suck the pretentiousness out of a gutter in the floor. Or maybe that was for the condescending attitude that oozed out of ever poor of the sales staff. Went there twice, the visits one week apart and decided to by the birthday gift from an online site. Why? Because I could feel myself wanting to vomit if I had to go into that store again. I can only take so much from a bunch of tech wanabees that worship at the feet of one of the worst tech companies on the planet. Really makes them easy to hate. Really easy.

Then they come up with a touch screen with feed back. They must have some really good engineers that they have brainwashed. Still hate Apple and all there tech is overpriced but they do come up with stuff that is cool from time to time.




RE: God I hate Apple!
By redbone75 on 10/8/2007 10:58:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
God I hate Apple when they come up with something that is actually interesting.

Continue to hate them, then, because they didn't "come up" with anything. Apple's just being Apple, taking old ideas/prior art, reworking them, and trying to patent it. I imagine a little tool like Google at least should be standard at the patent office if they're too lazy to search the patent records to see if a patent already exists or is pending when someone submits a new patent.
On a side note, I hate the iPod, if for anything the design is still the same damn design from years ago! They're supposed to be so innovative, why don't they innovate? If they don't want to alienate their customers that's fine, but at least have the cahones to come up with *gasp* an all new design.
And how about that new commercial where that schmuck is talking about "I used to have to carry around my iPod, a camera, a phone to send text messages, a regular phone..." Guess what, you still have to carry around a phone to send MMS, because the iPhone doesn't even do that! Wow!
Sorry, went off on a rant. It is Apple, after all.


RE: God I hate Apple!
By retrospooty on 10/8/2007 11:02:38 AM , Rating: 2
"God I hate Apple"


I know what you mean... I don't really know exactly why, but when I hear Steve Jobs talk, or rather read something that he said I get the same sick feeling that I get when I hear or read Kim Jong Il speak. Hard to explain, just a kind of yukky feeling in my gut, that feeling that tells me "this guy aint right in the head"

Could they actually be the same person? Has anyone ever seen them together in the same place at the same time? hmmm. I wonder.


RE: God I hate Apple!
By audiomaniaca on 10/8/2007 12:23:59 PM , Rating: 3
Jong Il's haircut is much cooler.


Yep
By Polynikes on 10/8/2007 8:03:46 AM , Rating: 2
It was only a matter of time. Let's hope it doesn't have the same problems as their other touchscreens have.




The next MID from Apple
By crystal clear on 10/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: The next MID from Apple
By crystal clear on 10/9/2007 7:28:41 AM , Rating: 1
Intel demos iPhone-like MID of the future

http://www.engadget.com/2007/09/20/intel-demos-iph...


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