Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,488,686) for “systems with synchronized windows” for privacy purposes.
In the patent filing info, Apple notes that vehicle occupants often desire privacy. Privacy sunshades may be raised to cover windows to provide privacy, but can block an occupant’s view out of the windows.
One-way mirror coatings or tints can be formed on the side windows of a vehicle to enhance privacy, but these arrangements may cause the windows to be too shiny or too dark. Also, If care is not taken, windows may be too reflective, may be insufficiently transparent for viewing, may have an appearance that is insufficiently flexible, or may have other undesired attributes.
Apple’s goal is to provide vehicle windows that offer privacy without sacrificing safety.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “A system such as a vehicle may have window that exhibit adjustable transparency. The windows may include liquid crystal devices and polymer dispersed liquid crystal devices that exhibit adjustable amounts of light transmission and haze. An optical property of a window such as window transparency may be modulated using an alternating-current modulation waveform. Modulation of the transparency of the window may be synchronized with modulated light output from a light source.
The light source may be located inside the vehicle or may be located outside of the vehicle. By synchronizing the modulation of the transparency of the window with the light source output, privacy may be enhanced or glare may be reduced.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.