Apple has filed for another patent (number 10,180,721) that hints at “smart clothing.” This one, dubbed “fabric-based divides with force sensing,” involves a “smart glove.”
In the patent filing, Apple says that it would be “desirable" to form items using materials such as fabric. For example, wearable items may be formed from fabric. Some wearable items may include sensing circuitry. Electronic equipment may use information from the sensing circuitry in controlling a system or performing other tasks, including gaming.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent: “A fabric-based item such as a fabric glove may include force sensing circuitry. The force sensing circuitry may include force sensor elements formed from electrodes on a compressible substrate such as an elastomeric polymer substrate. The fabric may include intertwined strands of material including conductive strands.
“Signals from the force sensing circuitry may be conveyed to control circuitry in the item using the conductive strands. Wireless circuitry in the fabric-based item may be used to convey force sensor information to external equipment. The compressible substrate may have opposing upper and lower surfaces.
“Electrodes for the force sensor elements may be formed on the upper and lower surfaces. Stiffeners may overlap the electrodes to help decouple adjacent force sensor elements from each other. Integrated circuits can be attached to respective force sensing elements using adhesive.”
You can read more about Apple’s fabric/smart clothing patents by clicking here. 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.