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
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
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.
quote: Using the method described in this application, not only would tactile feedback be provided
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.
quote: Then again, apple would never think of learning from McDonalds, cause it would hurt their image and isn't hip enough.
quote: God I hate Apple when they come up with something that is actually interesting.