Apple finds the solution to wet touch screens

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The screens and tactile surfaces rely on one of the three technologies. Capacitive screens are coated withelectrodes which detect the slightest touch of a finger. This is the technology used in smartphones, tabletslaptops… There are also resistive screenswhich detect the pressure with a finger, as well as the screens ultrasoundwhich detect waves reflected from objects.

Apple is working on the use of ultrasound and has just filed a patent for improving the precision of this technology by eliminating involuntary presses. This patent is interesting because Apple lists all the devices likely to be equipped with it without naming them, which includes the smart phone (iPhone), the media player (iPod), laptop (MacBook), tablet (iPad), connected watch (Apple Watch) as well as the listeners and the AirPods headphones and AirPods Max.

Touch surfaces that can be used wet or with gloves

Apple wants to use ultrasound to improve the functioning of a capacitive touch screen or resistive when wet (sports, rain, or when the user is wash hands) or when using a non-conductive object (gloves, or fingers with bandages). To eliminate involuntary presses, for example when the user touches the device with his cheek, Apple offers three solutions.

The first is to place absorbent materials at the location where involuntary support is likely to occur. Apple also proposes to place the transducer at the location of involuntary presses in order to be able to distinguish them from intentional presses because the reflection of the waves will arrive much faster at the transducer in the first case. Finally, Apple could use a transducer array to change the area covered by ultrasound depending on the time.

Apple specifically details the integration of this technology in the AirPods earbuds, but it would benefit all touch devices. Ultrasound could in particular make it easier to handle the Apple Watch while swimming. However, it is currently only a patent and there is no guarantee that this technology will ever come to market.

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