Apple Is Working On A Smart Keyboard That Can Sense You | Cult of Mac

Apple Is Working On A Smart Keyboard That Can Sense You



A new patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals that Apple is working on a ‘smart’ keyboard that provides users with tactile feedback using proximity sensors and air vents on individual keys. It could radically change the way we do everything with our keyboard, from sensing a letter being pressed before it’s typed to allowing us to ‘feel’ a video game through our finger tips.

The patent, titled “Input Devices and Methods of Operation,” notes that users may no longer feel their keyboards and get the same typing experience they’re used to as physical keyboards get smaller, thinner and more compact.

Apple wants to compensate for the change by placing proximity sensors on each keyboard which would detect a user’s input. A flow of air from the device – through openings on the surface of individual keys – would allow users to feel each key before they actually make any contact, making the keys feel larger.

Apple smart keyboard 2

Apple also described a pneumatic system that would “advance the selected key in a direction of actuation in response to detecting user selection.” With this method, when a user touches a key, it is “pulled away” from their fingertip.

Another proposal uses both of these methods in a keyboard that would provide air resistance to the user’s input and then withdraws the key when the user makes contact.

The patents were made public this week and first discovered by Apple Insider, but were originally filed in November, 2009, credited to Aleksandar Pance, Michael Sinclair, and Brett Bilbrey.

The features in these patents could have designed for Apple’s newer ‘chicklet‘ keyboards, which are significantly thinner than previous designs and use tiny little keys.


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