Imagine an Apple iPhone without
a home button. Got the image in your head? Great. Now how would you navigate from an application to the home screen? Simple, just give your phone a little squeeze. Apple received a patent on Tuesday from the USPTO called "Sensing capacitance changes of a housing of an electronic device
," which would allow the user of an Apple iPhone, or any device really, to control the action of the device by putting the squeeze
Apple's new patent allows devices to be controlled by squeezing its casing
The patent takes the idea of controlling a device with a touch even further, by using varying degrees of touch to control certain functions. For example, you could stop a ringing phone by squeezing its case hard while a lighter squeeze could result in something different happening, say, the lowering or raising of volume. Even moving your hand rapidly over a keyboard could create a wave of pressure strong enough to wake up a sleeping device. And to prevent you from accidentally setting off a feature with the phone in your pocket, a sensor determines if the phone is being held in your hand before the appropriate pressure is applied.
This might not be the kind of innovation
that fans of Apple have been looking for, but it still is something that users of many different devices might find quite useful to have.
"By measuring the electrical characteristics of the housing, such as the housing's capacitance, both before and during user interaction, the user's interaction can be sensed in a manner that is independent of the user's electrical characteristics and/or in a manner that may allow a pressure applied to the housing by the user to be quantified."-Apple's patent
Another image from Apple's patent