Apple investigating ways to embed health sensors, fingerprint readers, chargers into iPhone logos

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
In a seemingly never-ending quest to make thinner, lighter mobile devices, Apple is researching methods by which heart rate monitors, skin conductivity sensors and more can be directly incorporated into an iPhone's product logo.


Source: USPTO


Titled "Concealed electrical connectors," Apple's patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office on Thursday details an electrical system that integrates with existing apertures or surface anomalies in a mobile device chassis, a good example being the Apple logo emblazoned on all iPhone and iPad models.

In some embodiments, electrically conductive inserts are embedded into one or more apertures within the device chassis. Certain designs call for concealment beneath existing marks, such as the "iPhone" product identifier, while others incorporate inserts made of materials that contrast with surrounding metal to enhance logo visibility.

Complete or partial glyphs, letters, words, numbers and other symbols may be used to conceal any number of contacts. In one example, the word "Phone" might hold anywhere from three to eight distinct, insulated connections disposed under each letter or in the counter of a letter (described as an areas enclosed within a letter's boundaries). Inserts can then be paired to complete electrical circuits.


Cross-sectional view of showing electrical contacts concealed within a product logo.


As for sensors, the document mentions biometric monitoring apparatus such as skin conductivity sensors, heart rate monitors and fingerprint readers. More robust implementations may be used for charging and docking mechanisms, including contact solutions like MagSafe. An inductive charging setup like the system introduced with Apple Watch is a possibility, though Apple's patent fails to mention such designs.

Other embodiments imagine optical sensors disposed beneath transparent glyph sections, optically opaque radio frequency windows, multi-use applications and more.

As with any Apple patent, it is unclear if the technology described in today's filing will show up in a shipping product, but the company's current lineup is well suited to the task. With iPhone 6, for example, Apple moved from a polished rear logo to an embedded design filled with stainless steel. That amount of space is more than enough to deploy a host of biometric sensors, though multiples would likely require collocation over a wide area like the letters of an "iPhone" indicia.

Apple's multi-use iPhone logo patent application was first filed for in December 2013 and credits Nicholas V. King as its inventor.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    frykefryke Posts: 217member
    Call it an "iPhone logo" all you want - I see an Apple logo there. Oh, I see. The "iPhone" type is included. Okay. I'd specify that. Because I've simply never seen an "iPhone logo".
  • Reply 2 of 15
    bilbo63bilbo63 Posts: 285member
    So anyone who uses a case on their iPhone (nearly everybody) will be screwed if this sees the light of day.
  • Reply 3 of 15
    buckalecbuckalec Posts: 192member

    Being dreaming of the Apple logo on iMacs to have Touch ID for years - hopefully its part of the plan

  • Reply 4 of 15
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post



    So anyone who uses a case on their iPhone (nearly everybody) will be screwed if this sees the light of day.



    That's what I thought when I read this, too. I doubt very much that Apple will do this, even if it is true that they are investigating it.

  • Reply 5 of 15
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,172member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post



    So anyone who uses a case on their iPhone (nearly everybody) will be screwed if this sees the light of day.



    Not necessarily the case. If it is a requirement for electrical connection be made then we have a problem NASA. If it is something else like a non-visible optical sensor then many cases could work with that as well as RF emitter/antenna e.g., the iPhone 6 series went from the phones sides being multiple antennae to no discrete side pieces so they put stripes across the back that I'm sure many think were for aesthetics but are actually plastic embedded antennae. 

  • Reply 6 of 15
    pistispistis Posts: 247member
    bilbo63 wrote: »
    So anyone who uses a case on their iPhone (nearly everybody) will be screwed if this sees the light of day.

    It's amazing how complete idiots cannot see the obvious that is why they don't work on design at Apple instead they work at Samsung and come up with moronic ideas like for example displays like the edge screen technology.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,540member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bilbo63 View Post



    So anyone who uses a case on their iPhone (nearly everybody) will be screwed if this sees the light of day.



    My iPhone has a case. Can still take nice pictures though... at least I think they are nice. :\ 

  • Reply 8 of 15
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,158member
    Does anyone know if Liquidmetal has some special "discriminatory" conductance qualities that have not been heretofore discussed? Something that would set it apart from other conductors?

    As for biometric sensors on the back: others have tried buttons and sensors on the back with little success.
  • Reply 9 of 15
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,833member
    bilbo63 wrote: »
    So anyone who uses a case on their iPhone (nearly everybody) will be screwed if this sees the light of day.
    Cases can be cut open at Apple logo. Many cases currently have it.
  • Reply 10 of 15

    o_O

     

    Really? Cases would be manufactured to be open around the logo so it could be used. Just like cases were modified to deal with the bigger sizes of the 6 and 6 plus, and the lightning connector, and, and... etc.

     

    They change every time Apple releases a new phone; it wouldn't be any different with this change.

  • Reply 11 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post





    Cases can be cut open at Apple logo. Many cases currently have it.



    Exactly. No reason covers wouldnt have hole for Apple logo and many do now!

  • Reply 12 of 15
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,994member

    Exactly. No reason covers wouldnt have hole for Apple logo and many do now!

    And those cases look fucking ridiculous, and always will. Never understood them, so vain and useless, a cutout just to show off a logo, decreasing protection and aesthetics.

    Also, Apple would never make anything as tacky as Touch ID in the iMac Apple logo. Never.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    gtbuzzgtbuzz Posts: 129member
    Looking forward to Apple adding O2, BP, HeartBeat, etc for Sleep Apnea patients. This type of information would be great for patients (we know it would not be medical grade & don't care - nothing is recognized as medical grade except the tests the MD performs). If alarms could be set & data recorded automatically into the health app, that would be a blessing to many. I think I could find a case that would work with the phone or use no case at night. The Apple Case would probably work. Same for the watch if possible. Many would buy both or either.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jsmythe00 View Post



    I'd like to see them make it a visual message notifier. Text message gives it a blue color. Email makes it red....

    Too many colors for notifications from different apps would make yourself confused.

    You might not remember which color is exactly for which app. If so, colors makes no difference. :D

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