Apple has applied yet another patent to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The details of this application as published to public is about an advanced haptic feedback system which is able to simulate different feeling for different textures on a device display by using localized vibrations and temperature changes. For example, a user would be able to feel wood grain when he/she touches the wood image on the device’s screen.
Titled “Touch Surface for Simulating Materials”, Apple is bringing haptic feedback one step further compared to the current system which is embedded on Apple Watch or MacBook Force Touch multitouch trackpad.
The system collects information from capacitive sensors, positioning sensors, force sensors as well as other sensing components to detect the location and pressure of a user’s finger on the screen, compiled them using computer display technology, asserts them to reproduce the feeling of different textures, surfaces and materials on a glass or plastic substrate.
Based on the nature of the surface, the vibration amplitude will varies. Stronger vibrations will present rough surfaces and textures while smooth surfaces and textures will be presented by softer vibrations. Vibrations also can be adjusted based on the finger pressure, reflective of increased force on a simulated material. However, it is not mentioned whether the system will be adapted for iOS or iOS X to differentiate borders of app icons, lines of text and more.
Apple started to patent surface simulation in October 2013 and credits Paul G. Puskarich as the inventor.
Apple’s Latest Patent Application Uses Vibrations and Temperature to Simulate Different Materials on Touchscreens and Trackpads