Apple toying with display actuators for electronics devices

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple Computer has been experimenting with display actuators for electronics devices that would serve to both display visual information and act as a mechanical input, therefore reducing the space needed to implement both components on devices such as media players.



In a series of patent requests filed overseas and published on Wednesday, the iPod maker said such a device could display visual information like text, characters and graphics, but also act as a clickable button, sliding toggle, rotating dial or a motion controlling device such as a joystick.



"The display actuator may be incorporated into any electronic device to control various aspects of the electronic device," Apple engineers wrote in the filing. "Alternatively, the display actuator may be a stand alone device that operatively couples to an electronic device through wired or wireless connections."



In either case, the engineers said the display actuator can be configured to generate commands, make selections and/or control movements in a display.



One example provided in the filings describes an electronics device that is constrained within a housing, where physically moving the display apparatus within the housing generates an input action.



Apple engineers go on to state that the display component could be based on LCD, OLED, Plasma or rear-projection technology. "The display may [...] be made movable through a combination of joints such as a pivot/sliding joint, pivot/flexure joint, sliding/flexure joint [or] pivot/pivor joint in order to increase the range of motion," they said.



According to the filing, the motion detection mechanism could be placed underneath or on the sides of the display. In some instances the resulting display actuator can completely replace all other inputs and outputs on an electronic device.







"One of the advantages of the display actuator is that because the display provides user inputs, conventional user input means on electronic devices having displays can be substantially eliminated," Apple engineers wrote. "Furthermore, the size of the display can be maximized since the real estate is no longer needed for the conventional input means."



By way of the same example, the engineers said electronics devices could alternatively be shrunk to the size of the display. "In either case, the display is allowed to utilize a greater amount of the real estate of the electronic device," they added.



Earlier today, AppleInsider also covered an Apple patent filing for a content synchronization system that pertains to digital media players that include built-in wireless technology or have access to a docking station that includes such capabilities.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,401member
    Wacky tabacky! 8)



    Could serve as a gaming device, or iPod Phone sensors... or a much, much smaller iPod?
  • Reply 2 of 26
    mazolamazola Posts: 11member
    As demonstrated by E.T.
  • Reply 3 of 26
    bperkinsbperkins Posts: 110member
    Or two olives.
  • Reply 4 of 26
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Very neat stuff. This might help solve the biggest problem in making a "full-screen", "real" video iPod -- how to compensate for lack of tactile feedback that the physical click-wheel offers, and offers so well.



    With the above tech, however, you could conceivably press in the entire iPod screen (with a satisfying clicky sound) to play/pause, tilt to the right or left to respectively skip or go back, or tilt up for a menu.... if they can pull that off, it could be very, very cool.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    mclokimcloki Posts: 86member
    Think remote control.
  • Reply 6 of 26
    ajmasajmas Posts: 558member
    The biggest hurdle to get over on touch screens are finger-prints. Have you ever seen a public touch display at the end of the day? Not nice.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    This sounds very similar to the Optimus keyboard to me. I kept saying that Apple should buy these guys.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mazola


    As demonstrated by E.T.



    I had to look again, but OMG you're totally right!
  • Reply 9 of 26
    bdj21yabdj21ya Posts: 297member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dan.blanchard


    This sounds very similar to the Optimus keyboard to me. I kept saying that Apple should buy these guys.



    That would be a pretty innovative design. I would love to try one out and see how useful it might be in actual everyday use. I wouldn't mind something to help me remember all the controls in some 3d games.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    mchumanmchuman Posts: 154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ajmas


    The biggest hurdle to get over on touch screens are finger-prints. Have you ever seen a public touch display at the end of the day? Not nice.



    I still don't understand this. TOUCH YOUR IPOD SCREEN. Touch it over and over. Do you see any finger prints? Not many. TOUCH YOUR PDA. I touch my palm all day and guess what - I still look at photos and video on it without a problem.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,401member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dan.blanchard


    This sounds very similar to the Optimus keyboard to me. I kept saying that Apple should buy these guys.



    All keyboards should be this intelligent... \ Now about the price....?
  • Reply 12 of 26
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    I think the implementation idea here is an electronic-ink-film display atop a standard, dome switch.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mazola


    As demonstrated by E.T.



    Those are some very muscular looking fingers. Do they use miniature weight machines? Feel the burn!
  • Reply 14 of 26
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dan.blanchard


    This sounds very similar to the Optimus keyboard to me. I kept saying that Apple should buy these guys.



    If it doesn't turn into a semi on command, I'll be ticked.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    Man, that's one ugly finger!



    It was so distracting, I couldn't look at the devices. My eye kept getting drawn to the ugly finger!



    I'll bet that patent draftsman didn't pass the art school test on the back of the matchbook!
  • Reply 16 of 26
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,762member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bperkins


    Or two olives.



    I love the olives even though I saw eyeballs. Can you imagine having that job? "I am the finger illustrator for Apple Computer..."



    You get to work for Apple, see all the top secret stuff, draw octopus/ET/olive/eyeball fingers, and get paid!

    Knowing what I could have been, I will never enjoy my work again.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    bdj21yabdj21ya Posts: 297member
    Maybe it's meant to look as little like a finger as possible (while looking enough like a finger for patent illustration



    purposes) just to try and throw people off the scent of what they're planning. For example, you might think from the



    pictures that Apple is planning to develop a device for contracting aliens, or possibly making cocktails.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    I could see this used in an eBook reader

    - Only basic imput is required most of the time, turn page, scroll, dog ear, etc...

    - Allow for maximum screen size, most eBooks are too small

    - Apple simplicity, no buttons



    not to mention that they already have the infrastructure to sell eBooks just like music.

    Imagine being able to carry hundreds or thousands of books around in a device that is the size of the MacBooks screen.

    You could subscribe to PDFcasts and they would sync daily to your Apple eBook reader.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    mchumanmchuman Posts: 154member
    The finger is actually drawn acording to patent illustration requirements. You will notice fingers and hands always look strange. They have to be exagerrated so there is no question what they are doing.



    The patent office doesn't accept "traditionally" drawn body parts.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    It's not a finger, it's Mr. Hanky from South Park.
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