It always bears repeating that just because a company applies for a patent doesn’t mean the thing will ever see the light of day as a real product. But really, it’s the outlandishness that makes these things so fun sometimes. The decidedly clunkily named “Obfuscating the Display of Information and Removing the Obfuscation Using a Filter” details a technology for obscuring information on an electronic device via the addition of “artifacts” or the manipulation of the display’s “color, frequency or polarity.” Aspects can be obscured by different methods at the same time, so that different information will be blocked for individual users all staring at the same display. Also interesting is the use of a filter to decode the information — something like a pair of glasses coming between the user and the device, which can be detected by the device itself. Not a very Apple-like addition, but hey, you never know. Sometimes the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades.
Apple patent application keeps your private display private originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 26 Aug 2011 22:11:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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We’ve all tripped on power cords, sending laptops or other precious items tumbling to the ground. With the introduction of the MagSafe connector, back in 2006, Apple fixed the problem for clumsy MacBook owners, but has since left plugged-in iPad users up a creek. Cupertino was awarded a patent yesterday to integrate the magnetic (trip-safe) cord into future iOS devices like the iPad, potentially solving the dilemma for good. The Haus of Jobs also snagged patents for magnetic assembly and a “securing system,” whatever that means.
Apple snags MagSafe patent for iOS devices originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 17 Aug 2011 19:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos must have time on his hands and butter on his fingers. Why else would he have personally signed this patent application for a horrendously complicated “damage avoidance system?” It involves using a smartphone’s inbuilt motion sensors to detect a free-fall calamity, then sending an emergency signal to a separate protective sleeve, which finally “deploys an airbag prior to contact.” Heck, if we’re going down that road Jeff, why not just stick some mini thrusters on it and make it hover?
Jeff Bezos drops phone, has eureka moment, patents mini airbags originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 12 Aug 2011 07:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Apple may be hard at work creating the one phone to rule them all (around the world), if this latest patent application is any indication. The filing, first submitted in April of last year, describes a software-based method of determining carrier rankings, allowing owners to browse through a database of network-specific features, such as voice and data, to determine their best fit and sign-up for service. Ideally, this future iPhone set-up would come courtesy of a truly global phone, packing all the necessary radios and software to surf along the globe’s wireless frequencies sans extra SIM cards. Rumors of an open handset have been circling Cupertino for a bit, much to the dismay of operators who fear the move would diminish their function as the industry’s gatekeeper, shifting power to consumers. Certainly, Jobs and co. have a high hurdle to overcome if this purported world phone is to ever become a reality. In the meantime, why not just snag an unlocked device?
Apple’s carrier ranking patent application hints at global iPhone originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 11 Aug 2011 13:10:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, sim card
Deep in the stodgy bowels of the USPTO sits a folder full of Apple patent applications specifically for gesture controls. A few more pages from that expanding tome were just made public, and the concepts unearthed are certainly thought-provoking. The first involves using a proximity sensor in addition to the touch panel to register gestures in 3D. For example, you could use three fingers to mark out the corners of a triangle on the screen and then “pull up” and pinch to create a pyramid for use in a CAD application. The second idea involves gestures based on intuitive “physics metaphors” that are recognized using motion sensors. So instead of navigating menus in order to start a file transfer between an iPhone and iPad, the user could arrange the desired files on the phone’s screen and then pretend to “pour” them onto the tablet — an idea which rather reminds of the funky Project Blox. Oh, did we just make a Cupertino lawyer twitch?
Apple seeks patents for 3D and ‘physics metaphor’ gesture controls originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 22:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Apple’s knack for filing patent applications has struck again, offering a pair of digital pens that could become a competitive one-up for HTC’s Scribe pen. Both filed apps revealed by the USPTO involve styli for iOS displays, but if you’re imagining a magical item that helps (or hinders) your typing, this is another ball of wax. The first stylus is appropriately called “stylus for touch sensitive devices” and includes a rechargeable battery that could be stored and charged by placing it in a dock embedded directly in the device. Curiously, the stylus is heated for “more consistent interaction between the capacitive-sensors in the computing device and the stylus,” which sounds mighty nice on a cold day. By allowing the user to easily write real notes and draw pictures, this patent turns out to be much more than just a different method of inputting text.
Next up is the “communicating stylus,” a digital pen equipped with accelerometers and wireless transmitters that send position data. This would enable it to be used for an iOS device without any physical contact or other accessories. In theory, you could take the stylus (shown after the break) across the room and still jot down notes or doodle on your iPad, even if it’s out of sight. Finally, “the greatest pointing device in the world” — our fingers — will get a chance to rest.
Continue reading Apple patent apps describe ‘smart’ pens for notetaking and long-distance doodling
Apple patent apps describe ‘smart’ pens for notetaking and long-distance doodling originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 07 Jul 2011 12:56:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Don’t you hate it when the guy next to you on the subway is looking over your shoulder, watching you screw up in Fruit Ninja? Well, Apple could have predicted your discomfort — back in November 2009, before the iPad was anything more than a unicorn, the company applied for a patent on an LCD display with adjustable viewing angles, explicitly designed to “shield the display away from unintended viewers.” According to the filing, the display would include steering modules made of liquid crystal material, which aim the so-called scattering modules that sit on top of them. The top layer then redirects the light, making it possible to narrow down and alter the viewing angle. The patent specifically calls out cellphones and laptops, paving the way for discreet displays on MacBooks and iPhones, though the broad phrase “other portable electronic devices” leaves plenty of room for iPads and iPod Touches. No word, of course, on when or if Apple will secure this patent and if so, what devices might incorporate such screens. We may just be seeing this concept go public now, but it seems consumers could use this even more today than they did back in the fall of ’09, when all they had to worry about was a stranger squinting at their 3GS’ 3.5-inch screen.
Continue reading Apple patent application reveals an LCD with switchable, privacy-protecting viewing angles
Apple patent application reveals an LCD with switchable, privacy-protecting viewing angles originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 22 May 2011 05:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Apple’s certainly no stranger to speech recognition, but it looks like it may have enlisted a bit of outside help for the next version of OS X, otherwise known as Lion
. As Netputing
reports, some of the text-to-speech voice options available in the developer preview of Lion just so happen to match the voices available from Nuance
— which would seem
to suggest a partnership or licensing agreement of some sort, as the voices themselves cost $45 apiece directly from Nuance. In somewhat related news, Apple has also recently filed a patent application that would bring some fairly extensive new speech recognition options to the iPhone — if it ever actually moves beyond a patent application, that is. In short, it would let you either instantly have a phone call converted to text, or send some text and have it converted to voice on the other end — which the application notes could come in handy both in noisy environments or in situations where you simply aren’t able to talk. It would even apparently incorporate a noise meter that could automatically trigger various options when the ambient noise hits a certain level. Hit up the source link below for a closer look at how it would work.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]
Nuance voices found in OS X Lion, patent application suggests new iPhone speech / text capabilities originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 16 May 2011 15:25:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, speech recognition
, text to speech
We’ve been generally satisfied with the chiclet-style keyboards that have become omnipresent in laptops and Apple’s latest generation of desktop keyboards, but Cupertino feels that these thinner, lower-profile input devices limit tactile feedback. A patent application from Apple, filed in 2009 but only now revealed, aims to improve the user experience by “expelling air from the input device proximate the key when user selection is imminent.” That’s right — your keyboard could blow on your fingertips as you blow our minds in the comments. Another solution in the patent would function like a vacuum to pull keys away when a proximity sensor detects that you’re about to type, providing simulated feedback. If this concept takes off in the future, your next MacBook Air could really live up to its name.
Apple patent application shows keyboard that doesn’t require contact, blows air originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 13 May 2011 10:51:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Since Kinect entered the world, modders have been hacking it for everything from playing Tetris
to controlling a web browser
. And really, Microsoft never seemed to mind
. In case it wasn’t obvious how much the company wants you to help find new uses for the technology, the folks in Redmond have filed a patent application for custom profiles. We can see that having implications for gaming and even Windows shortcuts
, but for now Microsoft expects it to improve Kinect’s accuracy by learning how you move — after all, no one jumps or points or apes Lady Gaga’s dance moves in exactly the same fashion, right? In other cases, the system might note that you prefer to make an “X” sign instead of a checkmark when selecting an object onscreen. And
those personalized settings can roam over a network, shadowing you as you switch devices. Personally, we’re stoked about the idea of making our best Julian Assange dance a bona fide gesture, but we’ll be happy enough if Kinect can make up for our natural ungainliness.
Continue reading Microsoft patent application shows custom Kinect gestures, roaming user profiles
Microsoft patent application shows custom Kinect gestures, roaming user profiles originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 22 Apr 2011 11:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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