The U.S. Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded two new iOS device-targeted patents to Apple, one for an accurate ”touch and hover” display panel and another for a heart rate monitor that can be integrated into a handset, according to AppleInsider.
Apple’s patent titled ”Touch and hover signal drift compensation” details a system in which a touchscreen display can accurately determine both hover and touch events. Using specialized internal components, these touch sensitive devices can recognize an object hovering above a display panel, like a user’s finger or stylus. Once a hover event has been detected, the device may process it as a touch event, such as opening an app.
“In one embodiment, touch event compensation can be applied to ignore errant touches. Much like iOS palm rejection technology, touch signal compensation can intelligently determine a user’s intentions by inferring activity based on signal strength.
The patent continues with an in-depth look at other touch/hover panel implementations, including touch and however switching, signal resistance calibration and sensitivity variation compensation, among others.”
The other patent titled ”Seamlessly embedded heart rate monitor” describes sensors to read a user’s EKG data, which can then be used to authenticate said user or indicate their mood. Apple’s invention measures cardiac signals read by sensors embedded into metallic conductive portions of a device housing, such as a handset.
“The sensor leads can be successfully hidden or embedded, into the chassis housing, possibly in the screen bezel. These leads pick up minute electrical signals unique to a specific user’s heart, which can be measured to a degree of accuracy high enough as to provide an adequate means of identification.”
Looks like Apple is actively investigating biometric security solutions that rely on users’ bodies rather than passwords, one such system being the Touch ID on iPhone 5S.