Future Apple Watches may be able to keep the Digital Crown from performing inadvertent actions. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20180335891) for “rejection of false turns of rotary inputs for electronic devices.”
In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that rotational motion of the user's hand or arm--such when opening a door, unscrewing a jar lid, or the like--may also result in inadvertent, unintentional false turns of the Digital Crown on an Apple Watch. Apple says what is needed are mechanisms and processes for detecting and rejecting false, unintended rotations of rotary inputs of electronic devices.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Various embodiments for detecting and rejecting false, unintended rotations of rotary inputs of electronic devices are disclosed herein. In one example, an electronic device is provided with an optical detector that measures the distance between the electronic device and the wearer's forearm or hand, and when the distance is smaller than a threshold distance, the turns of the rotary input are false, unintended turns.
“In another example, a crown of a rotary input includes a plurality of capacitive sensors that detects the presence of a wearer's finger, which when absent, the turns of the rotary input are false turns. In another example, deflections or positions of a shaft of the rotary input are measured and if the deflections/positions indicate an upward force on the rotary input (which are likely caused by the wearer's forearm or hand), the turns of the rotary input are false turns.”
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.