Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,509,486) that hints that future Apple Watches could sport a “capacitive gap sensor” capable of detecting various types of motion.
Of course, the smartwatch can already do this, but, apparently, Apple wants to increase the functionality even more. Interesting, the technology could also be applied to Macs, iPhones, and iPads as the patent filing mentions keyboards, touch screens, displays, joysticks, microphones, speakers, watch crowns, trackpads, track balls, etc.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “An input mechanism for an electronic watch includes a rotational manipulation mechanism, such as a cap or shaft. The input mechanism also includes a sensor having first capacitive elements coupled to the manipulation mechanism, second capacitive elements, and a dielectric positioned between the first and second capacitive elements.
“Movement of the manipulation mechanism alters the positions of the first and second capacitive elements with respect to each other and is determinable based on capacitance changes resulting therefrom. In some implementations, the second capacitive elements may be part of an inner ring or partial ring nested at least partially within an outer ring or partial ring.”