Apple files for patent for ‘glove touch detection’

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.

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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.