Apple has approached The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for patent of their device with built-in pressure sensors working in combination with touchscreen input for enhanced UI navigation.
Apple’s has given a shot description of this in these words “Gesture and touch input detection through force sensing”. According to their patent application the new device performs as usual multitouch displays as in the iPhone and iPad, but has at least three additional force sensors below the screen surface. The pressure-sensitive components are placed around corners of the device; the sensors act as a secondary mode of input.
It is matter of giving more precision to the touchscreen operation while it is fairly accurate but the present touch control may not be very accurate in detection of certain multitouch gestures particularly from the edge of a screen in case of left or right swipe, it may not respond as desired.
The invention includes ideally the combination of at least three force sensors, but there may be four or more in such systems to enhance the sensitivity. The sensors are operatively attached to the touch sensitive surface, such as a display and necessarily in areas generally in view of the user. They can be hidden in the bezel area on an iPhone‘s display.
The force sensors are independent of capacitive touch areas but have to work in combination with that but force sensors may not be co-located with capacitive touch area because as said, they act independently of said system. The placement depends on the general pattern where a user is pressing during a given gesture.
When the sensor detects an input force, each individual sensor receives different pressure values and calculates to find a “force centroid,” or force origin point. If a user exerts force near the top right corner of the screen the sensor placed closer to that corner will receive a certain force value. Similarly other sensors deployed at other areas will receive different values certainly less in pressure.
Finding the force centroid and analyzing it one or more touch inputs and/or force inputs can be resolved from a integrated cohesive mechanism. The centroid can work in conjunction with a touch input to determine that a swipe action originated off screen or it can use the data to find out an accidental touch.
This system acts like the current palm rejection technology, but on a more analytical way. If a user is resting the thumb on one part of a display and interacting with the UI with another finger the GUI would identify the motion as a multitouch rather than rejecting the thumb touch.
In some combinations force sensors are placed outside the active touch sensitive area. This may act as secondary mode of input interpreting onscreen user interface elements like buttons or arrows thereby freeing more display space.
Apple has filed this patent for development and is likely to implement it on their new devices for improved UI. Let us wait how thins turn to be and how the users take it. The users may not be aware of what exactly is happening but certainly it would be advancement in technology and would give satisfaction to human by achieving something new.