A new Apple patent application published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has revealed details about the technology behind the new Apple Watch’s Digital Crown. According to PatentlyApple, Apple notes that one aspect of the Digital Crown is made of a conductive material with one or more metals or metal alloys, which strongly hints that the Cupertino giant may have used liquid metal in its design.
Apple explains that the “Digital Crown” is basically an input module for the Apple Watch, that includes a switch, a rotatable and translatable input member connected to the switch and an electrical contact which is connected to the switch and is in electrical communication with the input member.
The filing notes that “the tactile switch assembly may include a button that forms a crown for the watch and is connected to a sidewall of an enclosure for the device”, while adding that the electrical connection between the input member and the electrical contact is maintained during translation and rotation of the input member.
The switch module includes a tactile switch in communication with the processing element, a rotatable and translatable input member operably connected to the tactile switch, and a contact operably connected to the tactile switch and electrically coupled to the input member. During operation, the electrical coupling between the input member and the contact is maintained during translation and rotation of the input member.
Apple notes in their patent filing conclusion that “although the input button may be discussed with respect to a crown for a watch, the devices and techniques disclosed herein are equally applicable to other types of input button structures.”
Apple’s Digital Crown patent application was originally filed in Q3 2014.