If the Apple Watch display isn’t enough for you, relax – Apple is already working on a solution: The US Patent and Trademark Office has published an Apple patent application which describes an Apple Watch band made of “smart fabric”, with the latter meaning, in this case, that it acts like a secondary display (via AppleInsider). Clever, right?
The patent application is titled “Woven display” and details a technique which allows the integration of light pipe fibres into conventional fabrics. The result is a clever mix of traditional textile and modern materials which opens up a multitude of usage scenarios, one of which is the Apple Watch secondary display.
Here is how Apple envisions the smart fabric:
The basic theory behind Apple invention is to lay down light transmissive fibers alongside opaque fibers to form a precise pattern. The document proposes filling the weave’s lengthwise yarns, or warp, with light pipe fibers and the over-under yarn, called the weft, with traditional material. Alternatively, opaque fibers might constitute most of the warp, while light fibers are included in the weft.
When weaving is complete, the light pipe fibres can be connected to a light source, and this is where the magic begins: The woven display is able to present the user with readable information. Apple describes various usage scenarios, but the application specifically mentions a wristwatch (Apple Watch) type device as an example use case, as you can see in the image inserted above.
The patent application was first filed for in May 2014 and credits Douglas J. Weber and Teodor Dabov as its inventors.