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Apple exploring solar power, parking assistance, kinematic input

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Future products from Apple could be powered by the sun, might help you find a quick and easy parking spot for your car, and could interpret three-dimensional force-based "gestures" with your mouse.

A number of new Apple patent applications were revealed through the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office this week:

"Kinematic" input senses force, velocity

One application describes an input device, such as a computer mouse, equipped with one or more force and motion detection sensors. How the device is handled relative to a surface -- say, a desk -- would be interpreted by the device and shared with the computer.

This data could be used to understand "gestures" in the same way Apple has employed multi-touch gestures on the iPhone and with trackpads on its MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. Entitled "Methods and Apparatus for Processing Combinations of Kinematical Inputs," it is credited to Omar S. Leung and was filed for on July 18, 2008.

"Such gestures may include, for example, brushing motions, scooping motions, nudges, tilt and slides, and tilt and taps," the application reads. "The application can then respond to each gesture (or gesture combination) in any number of ways."

It goes on to say the inputs could be used for video games, file browsing, interactive navigation, communication systems, control systems, military systems, medical devices and industrial applications.

The sensors would allow users to press the input device, like a mouse, down against the desk and apply pressure. Or, they could lift the device off of the surface and bring it back down with varying velocity. Such motions could allow more dynamic methods of input.



Parking and location management

Another application aims to make finding a parking spot easier. By accessing the current location, such a system could access a database of information with parking regulations, traffic patterns, travel times and more.

Entitled "Parking & Location Management Processes & Alerts," the application is credited to Casey Maureen Dougherty. Apple filed the invention on July 16, 2008.

Given that cities often have specific times where parking spots are available, or where parking rates are adjusted, such a system would look to help users avoid tickets and find the fastest, quickest and least expensive parking option.

Based on all factors involved, the GPS-powered system could calculate arrival times based on the final destination and its proximity to the parking spot. For example, a user heading to a sports game would get not only the travel time in the vehicle, but also the amount of time it will take to walk from the parking spot to the arena.



Solar cell recharging for iPod, iPhone

Finally, an application describes a portable device such as an iPod or iPhone that would include solar cells capable of powering or recharging a device with energy from the sun. The system would include circuitry that would monitor the state of the battery and decide if recharging is necessary.

The system's circuitry could interpret the current battery state and adjust activity to extend battery life or rely more on external solar power.

Solar cells could be placed on both the front and back of the device, giving a large surface area to collect more potential power. The application notes that solar cells can be made into rigid materials, allowing virtually the entire exterior of the device to be covered in cells. One diagram included with the application shows an iPod with its front and back made of solar cells.



Titled "Power Management Circuitry and Solar Cells," the invention is credited to Michael Rosenblatt and Daniel A. Warren of Apple. The company filed the application on Aug. 5, 2008.
post #2 of 15
Likelihood of collecting enough light to power an iPhone type device is zero.
Maybe in 20 years with quantum computing.

I want my clothing to be solar, that should be enough surface area.

Black is my favourite colour so this would suit me well.

You can imagine a world where everyone in 30 years time is all dressed in black, and if you dress in any other colour the eco-cultists will linch you for not wearing energy efficient clothing.

"hey dude your wasting precious surface area man"
post #3 of 15
"Force-based gestures" **





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** Jedi/Sith-only
post #4 of 15
I can see it already. Program crashes -> bang mouse on table to force quit.
post #5 of 15
The parking patent would be great if partnered with some existing systems like:

The parking meters in Arlington VA emit a signal so that the meter police can tell if you are over your time limit. That signal should be available to you on your iphone to provide a reminder that you are about to run out of time on the meter. It could also highlight potentially vacant spots.
This could be combined with the sensors that are present in some airport & mall parking structures that that track whether a vehicle is in a space or not. These sensors feed the signs saying "350 spots, 2 vacant".

Combine all three with mapping of the spaces and you can be told where vacant spots are, how to get there, and for metered parking or timezone parking when you need to move or add money.

The local authorities should be in favor as well because they could simply look at a Parking App Map to tell tow trucks or meter police where the violations are.

Maybe it could be capped of by providing a phone number to call that would replicate the payment method.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

"Force-based gestures" **





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** Jedi/Sith-only

Just don't try them on your date. You'll end up with an illegal operation error.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Solar cells could be placed on both the front and back of the device, giving a large surface area to collect more potential power.


This wouldn't be a good idea, as people would leave their iPods or iPhones in direct sunlight, the resulting heat would cause numerous problems, not to mention leaving their expensive devices on car dash boards and out in plain view for thieves to steal.

Also it would mean keeping the device out of cases, which protect the device from wear and tear.


Nice idea to get people to create premature turnover, but not practical.
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

This wouldn't be a good idea, as people would leave their iPods or iPhones in direct sunlight, the resulting heat would cause numerous problems, not to mention leaving their expensive devices on car dash boards and out in plain view for thieves to steal.

Also it would mean keeping the device out of cases, which protect the device from wear and tear.


Nice idea to get people to create premature turnover, but not practical.

That was my fist thought but Apple are not stupid. If they are looking into this they know something we don't such as a new technology perhaps able to work on low light or even artificial light. As to the case, I guess they'll need clear material that doesn't trap the required wavelengths.
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post #9 of 15
While the novelty of having a solar panel on your phone is cool, there is the matter of practicality that doesn't really make it worth it. I believe the phone I'm thinking of (made by Sharp) requires it to be the sun for an hour and that will get your something around 10 minutes of talk time. Which is a pretty good ratio (6-1) , but that 10 minutes for every 1 hour is assuming prefect conditions. Which means you'll have to be outside on an non-cloudy day, walking around with your cellphone in your hand, positioning the solar panel so it faces the Sun at all times, gathering in direct sunlight. Otherwise that 6-1 ratio will probably drop down to a real world 1 hour of charging getting you maybe 1 minutes of talk time.

While I can imagine there are some situations where that would come in handy (maybe you are on an extended camping trip or you just broke down on some back-road with no battery life), but in most situations, the practicality of having that small of a solar panel this just isn't there. I certainly wouldn't object to having one though, assuming I'm not paying more because of it and assuming it isn't taking away from anything else. As I mentioned, the novelty of it is certainly cool. And having a cool solar panel on my cool smartphone would be... well... cool, lol.
post #10 of 15
Tell me when an iPhone technology will be in a position to decode this and then I'll be impressed! Oh and BTW below is a normal street in NYC... I was looking for some really mind bending ones like I'd often find in Brooklyn but was pressed for time.

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post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kasakka View Post

I can see it already. Program crashes -> bang mouse on table to force quit.

Lol, love it. I think this is a very unique way of interacting with the mouse and the computer. This would be a VERY useful development that I would like to see fleshed out. I predict that we will see a few examples of this in very near future devices, as the world is bent on copying Apple's "next big thing."
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post #12 of 15
Kinetic mouse input plus 3D monitors=Next Huge Thing.

Minority Report, here we come.
post #13 of 15
So there are rumours about adding kinematic support to the mouse, and there's also talk about the iPhone getting a multi-touch shell like the Magic Mouse? Give the iPhone that shell, a scratch-proof screen, a front-facing camera and Presto! You have an iPhone that can be placed face-down and used as a Magic Mouse, with support for kinematic gestures. That would also solve the problem of people stealing your wireless Magic Mouse when you're away from your desk, because you'll be taking your iPhone with you.

There are also rumours about multi touch support being added to upcoming iMacs. If that's true, maybe Apple will allow multiple pointing devices (mice, iPhones, iPod Touches, etc) to be paired with a Mac. That way even Macs without touch screens could get some of the benefits, e.g. think of games where two people touch the screen at once.

Here's another thought: while the iPhone is wirelessly connected to the Mac, the Mac can not only use it as a pointing device but also as a storage device. You could use the Mac to view photos and other media that is stored on the iPhone. You could even copy files onto the iPhone, move to a different computer and copy the files from the iPhone.

Obviously all the above could apply to the iPod Touch.
post #14 of 15
This actually makes pretty good sense when you think about it.

Jess
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post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Tell me when an iPhone technology will be in a position to decode this and then I'll be impressed! Oh and BTW below is a normal street in NYC... I was looking for some really mind bending ones like I'd often find in Brooklyn but was pressed for time.


Hmm. That sign is perfectly understandable.
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