Amongst Apple’s many newly granted patents this week, this one is sure to stand out. The patent outlines the possible ultrasonic wave technology which is set to be able to accept touch commands from Apple devices, underwater. This comes as quite a big step for Apple, as the majority of its’ devices are not waterproof, and most of the time appear to stop functioning when a water droplet hits the screen.
Acoustic touch sensors would be able to transmit ultrasonic waves along a surface or through the thickness of an electronic device to the surface, as per the patent. The acoustic touch sensing system could be “configured to be insensitive to contact on the device surface by water”, thus can be used for devices that are likely to become fully submerged underwater. Further details from the patent read that an object which is touching a surface can be determined using the acoustic image reconstruction techniques and acoustic tomography techniques.
The ultrasonic waves will enable one or more objects, whether fingers or potentially an Apple Pencil, which are touching the surface to interact with the device. This however isn’t the company’s first filling for an underwater device patent, as they previously secured a patent for future iPhone with underwater imaging capabilities, capable of working in up to 60-foot depths.
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