Apple has just been awarded a rather elaborate patent for gloves you can use to operate a capacitive touchscreen. You know, like . Or these. Prior art, much?
As you know, you can’t use your iPhone while wearing just any old gloves. Very simply, the way capacitive touchscreens work is by measuring the change in electrical current when the display panel is touched, and fabric just doesn’t change the current in the same way as skin. If you think about it, that’s actually the whole point: capacitive touchscreens are designed not to be triggered by the lining of your pocket. When the mercury dips, though, things can get very annoying indeed, as you have to brave the hypothermic cold to answer a call or send a text.
The solution employed by many glove makers is to sew a little bit of conductive thread into the tips of their gloves. Heck, you can easily do this yourself, transforming any pair of gloves into iPhone-compatible ones.
So what’s Apple’s patent on about? Basically, it seems as if it’s simply a more elaborate form of iPhone-compatible glove with two layers: an outer protective layer and an inner conductive layer. When you want to use your iPhone, you simply pull the outer layer back a bit so the inner conductive layer pokes out a squinched shut fabric sphincter, allowing you to use your phone.
Yeah, okay. That’d work. Seems like an elaborate solution to something it’s already pretty easy to do, though.