One more patent has been awarded to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week. The patent describes a technology that implements haptic feedback and would be applicable in touch-based devices.
The patent is called “Method and apparatus for localization of haptic feedback” and bears the number 8,378,797. The system layed out in the description involves two actuators that are placed beneath the touch-based device and work by providing the feedback when the device is engaged by human contact. When the device is touched, one of the actuators will produce a vibration meant as feedback. The other actuator’s job is to minimize this vibration, by creating one of its own, meant to overpower the first one, preventing the vibration to spreading to unwanted parts of the device.
Currently, no Apple device boasts a haptic system, but other smartphones use the technology in order to enhance user experience. Cupertino’s patent covers situations where the actuators are placed in different locations of the device, thus enabling correct feedback. The system utilizes “destructive interference” in order to prevent the vibrations to spreading away from the point of contact.
The patent gives the example of a keyboard. Imagine you are typing the letter T - the actuator situated beneath this letter should be able to suppress the vibration created from spreading all the way to the letter R by creating a suppression waveform that "masks or otherwise changes the ultimate vibration at these other contact locations."
The patent was filed back in 2009. Aleksandar Pance, Paul Alioshin, Brett Bilbrey and David T. Amm are credited for the invention.