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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,972
17,352


Apple has let loose a number of revealing new patent applications that cover some interesting technologies that could be used in future iPhones.

Haptic Tactile Feedback

Perhaps most interesting amongst the patent applications is the acknowledgement by Apple that despite the many advantages of the iPhone's multi-touch screen, a lack of tactile feedback remains its biggest disadvantage:
However, one of a touchscreen's biggest advantages (i.e., the ability to utilize the same physical space for different functions) is also one of a touchscreen's biggest disadvantages. When the user is unable to view the display (because the user is occupied with other tasks), the user can only feel the smooth hard surface of the touchscreen, regardless of the shape, size and location of the virtual buttons and/or other display elements. This makes it difficult for users to find icons, hyperlinks, textboxes or other user-selectable input elements that are being displayed, if any are even being displayed, without looking at the display.
...
Unless touch input components are improved, users that, for example, drive a motor vehicle, may avoid devices that have a touch input component and favor those that have a plurality of physical input components (e.g., buttons, wheels, etc.).

041535-haptic.jpg


The proposed solution is the adoption of "haptic" display technologies which allow for some tactile feedback from touch screen displays. 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.

Haptic technology has started gaining adoption in other mobile phones and there had been some talk that Apple might have been looking to adopt it.

Fingerprint Identification as an Input Method

A second very intriguing patent application suggests the detection of a user's individual fingerprints as an input method. Fingerprints have already been used in computers for security purposes, but Apple's research involves the use of fingerprint patterns to actually identify distinct fingers. This could then be used to produce specific functions depending on which finger is being used. As shown in the table below, an index finger press might perform one action (PLAY/STOP) while a middle finger press could fast forward.


042023-fingerprint.jpg


The reason for such a distinction again falls back on non-visual usage. Instead of requiring the user to find a button on the touchscreen, the use of different fingers alone could trigger different commands.

RFID Reader

Finally, the last notable application covers the dual use of a touch screen as an RFID reader. RFID tags are small circuits that can be embedded in objects for identification using a special reader. Apple suggests that the an RFID antenna can be placed in the touch sensor panel itself, allowing it to also be used as a RFID reader. As RFID tags become more prevalent, this could add a very useful function to future touch screen devices.

Article Link: Haptic Feedback, Fingerprint Identification, and RFID Tag Readers in Future iPhones?
 

tallguy

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2008
154
0
Canada
I can see the conspiracy theorists jumping all over this one. Apple working with the government to implement RFID chips into everyone, and then have Steve Jobs control the world.
 

ipoppy

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2006
423
9
UK
I can see the conspiracy theorists jumping all over this one. Apple working with the government to implement RFID chips into everyone, and then have Steve Jobs control the world.

Don't laugh!!! It is true story.:mad:
 

puuukeey

macrumors 6502
Dec 24, 2004
327
1
tristate area
A) Funny I've been wondering about finding away to give touch screens a feel for a while. Futurism is such a unified thing where people all seem to want the same thing.
B) finger prints seem like a way to recognize which finger is touching where.
C) Don't RFID's work with surface already?
 

4np

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
971
2
The Netherlands
Wow, the fingerprint recognition potential seems amazing :) I'm not sure if it can also be used for authentication as the mythbusters could relatively easily circumvent systems based on fingerprint recognition :)
 

ipoppy

macrumors 6502
Oct 12, 2006
423
9
UK
All those concepts are great under one condition which is iPhone need to be as fast as hell. Probably we are talking about quad processor from Mac Pro to make it happened. :D
Seriously, iPhone will need much more horse power to adopt and run smoothly those applications to the point when people won't complain that their iPhone's are lagging etc. Because of this I don't think we will see that anytime soon. If that will happened I guess that would be about year 2012, but then end of world so what is the point?:p
 

RichUK89

macrumors newbie
Jul 7, 2008
13
0
Hmmm.... Oyster card in iPhone? That would be one less thing to think about when leaving the house.
 

chickenninja

macrumors 6502
Feb 13, 2008
351
19
inside my skull
it would be cool to have the sensation of different textures, but using electrical charges i dont know. i can feel the faint humming of a touch lamp and i find it unpleasant and this uses the same principle even if it is using piezoelectric pixels. but ya know not everyone can feel that stuff, what if you have fat fingers from eating corndogs without chewing. should i have to choose between tactile sensation and the textured chug of a corndog? NO
 

designgeek

macrumors 65816
Jan 30, 2009
1,064
0
"Town"
I made fun of someone a while ago on these forums for speculating about future iPhones and OSs by saying "The next one will be able to read your mind." Now that I have read this, that might actually be the case. I humbly apologize.;)
 

JonasLondon

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2006
131
0
London
As an iPhone Generation1 user I've bravely resisted the temptation of the iPhone 3G and as I am now moving country I am looking forward to picking up my iPhone 3GS next week. This article however makes me want the next one already... amazing ideas to identify which finger is where and whether it is rotating etc. Go :apple: ! :)
 

iphones4evry1

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2008
1,197
0
California, USA
If there's some type of safeguard to ensure that my fingerprint is stored on my phone only (separate chip and never part of the main OS software), I'm all for it.

Haptic feedback? I don't see a need for it.
 

BeyondCloister

macrumors member
Nov 6, 2002
39
0
Aberdeen, Scotland
with gloves

What I would like to see is the ability to use the iPhone whilst wearing gloves.

It gets cold here in the winter / summer / spring / autumn and having to take off a glove to use the iPhone - or even answer a call - is a pain.

It is not just the weather either as when cycling and the phone rings the call is missed by the time you have got a cycle glove off and the phone out.

Or maybe this is just the price of progress.
 

capoeirista

macrumors 6502
Jan 21, 2007
448
0
Haptic feedback? Yes please!

It gets cold here in the winter / summer / spring / autumn and having to take off a glove to use the iPhone - or even answer a call - is a pain.

It is not just the weather either as when cycling and the phone rings the call is missed by the time you have got a cycle glove off and the phone out.

Just use your nose! :D
 

chickenninja

macrumors 6502
Feb 13, 2008
351
19
inside my skull
I think this technology is a logicle step from touchscreen but they should be phocusing on more important things like making it waterproof, how much of the planet is covered with water? besides what if i scratch my screen and then cant login to my own device or someone steals it and then they use it to open the vault in my volcano that also uses a fingerprint. its not good to leave your personal information lying around yet alone something as personal as a fingerprint on a phone that can slip out of a pocket.
 

DipDog3

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2002
1,190
691
This could be interesting.

I can see this being part of the iPhone 5G.

Doubt we will see it anytime sooner than that cause the 4G will have OLED.
 

MorphingDragon

macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2009
5,160
5
The World Inbetween
it would be cool to have the sensation of different textures, but using electrical charges i dont know. i can feel the faint humming of a touch lamp and i find it unpleasant and this uses the same principle even if it is using piezoelectric pixels. but ya know not everyone can feel that stuff, what if you have fat fingers from eating corndogs without chewing. should i have to choose between tactile sensation and the textured chug of a corndog? NO

Thats not the crumbs of a corn dog. Thats a stroke!!!
 

DELLsFan

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2009
826
0
Oh sure, this is amazing alright ... innovative ways to lessen the dependence on visual and physical interaction with the iPhone. Yet, 3 generations + 1 (pending) update of the product before incorporating truly hands-free operation of it? Cupertino is in CA, right? Hands-Free laws there, right? Design and code done there, right? Right ...

Oh, I'm sorry. It DID take them this long to incorporate copy/paste. I should set the bar a little lower. :rolleyes:
 

Virtuo

macrumors member
Feb 12, 2009
44
0
Boston, MA
Take a look at the fingers suggested for the fingerprint readings. You'll realize that this isn't intended for use in the iPhone -- only practical on larger touch screen devices. *hint hint*
 

motulist

macrumors 601
Dec 2, 2003
4,217
559
I've never touched a haptic screen before, but by its description they always sound like an unpleasant sensation to me. And it sounds like they could only deliver very coarse resolution tactile information to your fingers. Regarding these issues, can anyone here comment on their actual experience of trying out a haptic screen?
 
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