The U.S. patent and Trademark Office recently approved a patent application from apple, involving the application of fabrics, such as embedded components such as textile straps. Apple’s invention can embed the circuit into the braided material, so this patent can be applied to the future Apple watch strap. This will be Apple’s first intelligent strap, and will also provide more advantages for the current strap, such as adding functions such as image and tactile input.
Apple said that in some cases, the circuit will be combined into the apple watch strap. According to Apple’s invention, the fabric embedded in the circuit can include woven fabric, knitted fabric or other fabrics. The circuit in the fabric can collect the signal input by the user. Then, the circuit provides visual output, audio-visual output, tactile output, etc. In the input / output equipment, relevant components include temperature sensor, pressure sensor, force sensor, gas sensor, touch sensor and button sensor.
Apple’s patent application issued by the U.S. Patent Office was filed in the third quarter of 2018. This is not the first time Apple has filed a patent on fabric.
Apple previously obtained patent 10286636, which covers the invention of fabric based articles and, more specifically, fabric based articles with three-dimensional shape. Fabric based articles can form three-dimensional shapes in vacuum. The three-dimensional shape can be a shell or cover of an electronic device, a bag, a backpack, a wristband, or other suitable object. Fabric based items may include one or more fabric layers and a polymer layer that can be formed when heated. For example, the polymer layer may be a thermoplastic or thermosetting polymer.
Last year, the U.S. patent and Trademark Office announced Apple’s patent application for smart textiles. According to the patent content, it will be used in various possible future intelligent products, from equipment to accessories, such as computer headset, headset, furniture, car seats and so on.
The title of Apple’s patent for smart fabric products is “insulated conductive strand with polymer core”. Daniel podhajny, one of the inventors, is a product designer in the textile industry with rich experience. Apple pointed out in its patent application that their invention relates to a fabric formed by a strand of conductive material, and more specifically, to a fabric made of materials such as an insulating conductive strand with a conductive core.
From a larger perspective, Apple hopes to use this insulated conductive strand with a conductive core to make things such as bags, clothes and other items that can be formed by interlacing materials. For example, the insulated conductive strand can be woven into a part of the target article by weaving, knitting or weaving. Apple’s invention aims to manufacture fabric articles formed by weaving insulating conductive strand materials. These articles may include circuits that generate signals.