Apple wants the screens on iOS and watchOS devices to be more receptive to the touch when a user is wearing gloves. The company has filed for a patent (number 20170262101) for “glove touch detection.”
In the patent filing, Apple notes that touch sensitive devices can be used in environments where an object touching a surface of the touch sensitive device can be separated from the surface by a barrier. For example, a user can be wearing a glove on one or both hands or can have a bandage on one or more fingers. The barrier can create a separation between the object and sensors of a touch sensor panel and degrade the sensors' ability to identify the object as touching the surface of the touch sensitive device. Apple wants to change this.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “The dynamic adjusting of the conditions for identifying inputs as touching a touch-sensitive device is discloses. In some examples, in addition to using a signal density make threshold to identify an input patch as touching the surface, a signal density stability threshold can be used to identify the input patch as touching the surface.
“In some examples, a weighted average of peak signal density contributions from recent identified touches can be computed to dynamically adjust the make threshold for new input patches. In other examples, a new input patch identified as associated with the same path as an earlier touch can have its ‘make’ threshold dynamically adjusted based on the earlier touch without computing a weighted average.”
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.