Apple was recently awarded two patents that may give us some insight into the new product categories it wants to enter in 2014 and beyond. One is for a heart rate monitor, and another is for a screen that you can interact with without ever touching the actual display.
The first patent is titled “Seamlessly embedded heart rate monitor” and describes an embedded device that’s capable of reading your cardiac electrical signals. In other words, it can monitor your heart at all times and provide health information. This sort of tech already exists, though Apple could embed it into wearable tech, perhaps something like the rumored iWatch smartwatch that could land sometime in 2014. The patent image, above, shows an iPhone, however, so perhaps Apple may add health monitoring tech to its next-gen smartphone.
The second patent is titled “Touch and hover signal drift compensation” and describes a display that a user can interact with without ever touching the screen. It sounds similar to what Samsung offers with its newer Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 devices, in that you can move around the screen without actually touching it. Here’s a sample description:
A touch and hover sensing device can include a sensing panel to sense an object touching or hovering over the panel, a grounding device to periodically interact with the panel, and a control system to measure capacitance of the panel when the grounding device interacts with the panel, where the measurement captures any signal drift in the panel, and to set the measurement as a new baseline capacitance of the panel.
That kind of tech could be built into anything, whether it’s a new iPad, iPhone or even a trackpad on a computer. It could also, again, be used on a smartwatch of sorts so that you can use gestures to interact with it instead of having to make deliberate taps on such a small screen.
Patented technology doens’t always come to fruition, but it does give us a peek into what a company is researching. For now, we can see definite use case scenarios for both patents, so perhaps we’ll actually see this tech used soon.