Eighteen Apple patents involve multi-touch skins, touch-sensitive displays, more
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Eighteen Apple patents involve multi-touch skins, touch-sensitive displays, more

Patent number 20080309634 is for multi-touch skins spanning three dimensions. One or more multi-touch skins can placed along three dimensions of an object. The one or more multi-touch skins enable multi-touch inputs during the operation of the object. The multi-touch inputs can be tracked to monitor the operation of the object and provide feedback to the operator of the object. The one or more multi-touch skins can further enable gestures for configuring and operating the object. The one or more multi-touch skins can also be used to implement any number of GUI interface objects and actions. A multi-touch skin that measures the force of a touch in one or more directions is also provided. The inventors are Steve Porter Hotelling and Wayne Carl Westerman.

Patent number 20080309633 is for a touch-sensitive display. A substantially transparent mutual-capacitance touch sensor panel is disclosed having sensors fabricated on a single side of a substrate for detecting multi-touch events. Substantially transparent row and column traces can be formed on the same side of the substrate, separated by a thin dielectric material, using diamond, rectangular, or hexagonal rows and columns. Dummy shapes of the same material as the row and column traces can be formed alongside the rows and columns to provide optical uniformity. The metal traces in the border areas used to route the rows to the short edge of the substrate can also be formed on the same side of the substrate as the rows and columns. The metal traces can allow both the rows and columns to be routed to the same short edge of the substrate so that a small flex circuit can be bonded to only one side of the substrate. The inventors are Steve Porter Hotelling and John Z. Zhong.

Patent number 20080309632 is for a pinch-throw and translation gestures. The detection of finger pinch, rotate, and tap gestures along with a translation and optionally liftoff motion to initiate certain actions is disclosed. To detect both the gesture and the translation, a certain amount of gesture scaling speed can be detected along with a certain amount of translation speed and distance traveled. For a finger pinch gesture, the scaling speed can be computed as the dot product of the velocity vectors of two or more fingers coming together. For a finger rotation gesture, the scaling speed can be computed as a cross product of the velocity vectors of the rotating fingers. The translation speed of a gesture can be computed as the average of the velocity vectors of any fingers involved in the gesture. The amount of gesture scaling speed and translation speed needed to trigger the recognition of a combined gesture with translation can be a predetermined ratio. The inventors are Carl Wayne Westerman and Brett G. Alten.

Patent number 20080309631 is for an integrated multi-touch surface having varying sensor gratuity. This relates to an event sensing device that includes an event sensing panel and is able to dynamically change the granularity of the panel according to present needs. Thus, the granularity of the panel can differ at different times of operation. Furthermore, the granularity of specific areas of the panel can also be dynamically changed, so that different areas feature different granularities at a given time. This also relates to panels that feature different inherent granularities in different portions thereof. These panels can be designed, for example, by placing more stimulus and/or data lines in different portions of the panel, thus ensuring different densities of pixels in the different portions. Optionally, these embodiments can also include the dynamic granularity changing features noted above. The inventors are Carl Wayne Westernman, John Greer Elias, Steve Porter Hotelling and Duncan Kerr.

Patent number 20080309630 involves techniques for reducing jitter for taps. Distinguishing sloppy taps from sliding motions is disclosed using an algorithm that can take into account both a time instability factor Tinst and a touch instability factor Zinst. A limited amount of motion per frame can be subtracted off immediately following the detection of a touch event. Small lateral motions indicative of a sloppy tap can be suppressed, while fast finger motions indicative of a quick, long cursor movement can immediately pass through the filter without being suppressed by a significant amount. A motion pass-through suppression factor can be applied subtractively to motion in particular direction as a function of Zinst and Tinst, wherein Zinst can represent a suppression value given as a finger speed for a particular percentage change in touch instability per frame, and Tinst can represent a suppression value given as finger speed for a particular tpress. The inventor is Carl Westerman.

Patent number 20080309629 involves bottom up watershed dataflow method and region-specific segmentation based on historic data. The application of a watershed algorithm to pixels and their touch values obtained from a scan of a touch sensor panel to determine patches corresponding to images of touch is disclosed. Prior to applying the watershed algorithm, background pixels having little or no touch values can be eliminated. A primary merge algorithm can then merge adjacent patches together when the saddle point between them is shallow as compared to the peak represented by the patches. However, if two candidate patches for merging have a total number of pixels below a certain threshold, these two patches may not be merged under the assumption that the patches might have been caused by different fingertips. Conversely, if two candidate patches for merging have a total number of pixels above a certain threshold, these two patches can be merged under the assumption that the patches were caused by a single thumb or palm. The inventors are Carl Wayne Westerman and Joshua Strickon.

Patent number 20080309623 is for touch screens with transparent conductive material resistors. Systems and methods for touch screens with integrated transparent conductive material resistors are provided. Metal traces on the surface of a touch screen may be subject to radio-frequency interference (RFI) that can adversely affect the performance of the touch screen. Transparent conductive material resistors inserted within the metal trace paths can be used to form low-pass filters which can reduce the affect of the RFI. The inventors are Steve Porter Hotelling and Brian Richards Land.

Patent number 20080309622 is for periodic sensor autocalibration and emulation by varying stimulus levels. The automatic calibration of a sensor panel is disclosed by varying the amplitude of an input stimulus Vstim to simulate a full-touch condition and calibrating each pixel of the sensor panel in accordance with the difference between the simulated full-touch condition and a baseline full-touch condition. To accomplish this, a baseline full scale output FS_targ_cal can be measured at during pre-delivery calibration for each pixel using a test fixture capable of applying a no-touch to full-touch condition given a nominal Vstim. A full-touch condition can then be emulated for each pixel by lowering Vstim until the current full scale output FS_targ_current equals FS_targ_cal, and determining the Vstim value Vstim_cal at that point. During field calibration, Vstim_cal can be applied to each pixel to simulate a full-touch condition, and FS_targ_current can be obtained and compared against FS_targ_cal. Each analog channel can then be tuned so that in subsequent full-touch conditions, FS_targ_current will approximately equal FS_targ_cal. The inventor is Christopher Horst Krah.

Patent number 20080309511 is for selectively adjustable icons for assisting users of an electronic device. Systems and methods for providing selectively adjustable icons to assist users of an electronic device are provided. Icons can be selectively adjusted to assist users in connecting and disconnecting accessories to and from the electronic device. The inventors are Duncan R. Kerr, Nicholas V. King, Peter H. Mahowald and Derek J. DiCarlo.

Patent number 20080309627 is for integrated in-plane switching. This relates to adding multi-touch functionality to a display without the need of a separate multi-touch panel or layer overlaying the display. Instead, embodiments of the invention can advantageously utilize existing display circuitry to provide multi-touch functionality while adding relatively little circuitry that is specific to the multi-touch functionality. Thus, by sharing circuitry for the display and the multi-touch functionalities, embodiments of the invention can be implemented at a lower cost than the alternative of superimposing additional multi-touch related layers onto an existing display panel. Furthermore, since the display and multi-touch functionality can be implemented on the same circuit, they can be synchronized so that noise resulting from the display functionality does not detrimentally affect the multi-touch functionality and vice versa. The inventors are Steve Porter Hotelling and John Z. Zhong.

Patent number 20080309624 is for mode sensitive processing of touch data. Embodiments of the present invention provide for a hardware or software utility layer operating at a multi-touch enabled device that can perform application aware processing of touch data. More specifically, various applications executing at the device can send to the utility layer definitions of the types of touch data they require from the multi-touch enabled display. The utility layer can then process incoming touch data in relation to these definitions and send back to the applications result data in a format requested by the applications. Thus, the computational load associated with processing of touch data can be decreased. Also, in certain cases, applications can obtain more accurate data than available in prior systems. The inventor is Steve Porter Hotelling.

Patent number 20080309626 is for speed/positional mode translations. Gestures for converting from a position control mode to a motion continuation mode are disclosed. A position control mode can be invoked when the user simultaneously places two or more fingers upon a sensor panel. The fingers can then be moved around to effect position control. A motion continuation mode can be invoked when one or more fingers are lifted off (but at least one finger remains in contact with the sensor panel). If the motion continuation mode is invoked, a virtual control ring can be generated, and scrolling of the viewable area or dragging of the cursor or object can continue in a particular direction specified by a velocity vector pointed in the direction of finger movement at the time the motion continuation mode is invoked, and having a magnitude proportional to the velocity of the finger at the time the motion continuation mode was invoked. The inventors are Carl Wayne Westerman and Sean Erick O'Connor.

Patent number 20080309628 is for detection of low noise frequencies for multiple frequency panel stimulation. The identification of low noise stimulation frequencies for detecting and localizing touch events on a touch sensor panel is disclosed. Each of a plurality of sense channels can be coupled to a separate sense line in a touch sensor panel and can have multiple mixers, each mixer using a demodulation frequency of a particular frequency, phase and delay. With no stimulation signal applied to any drive lines in the touch sensor panel, pairs of mixers can demodulate the sum of the output of all sense channels using the in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) signals of a particular frequency. The demodulated outputs of each mixer pair can be used to calculate the magnitude of the noise at that particular frequency, wherein the lower the magnitude, the lower the noise at that frequency. Several low noise frequencies can be selected for use in a subsequent touch sensor panel scan function. The inventors are Christoph Horst Krah, Steve Porter Hotelling, Sean Erick O' Connor and Carl Wayne Westerman.

Patent number 2008030965 is for multiple simultaneous frequency detection. The use of multiple stimulation frequencies and phases to generate an image of touch on a touch sensor panel is disclosed. Each of a plurality of sense channels can be coupled to a column in a touch sensor panel and can have multiple mixers. Each mixer in the sense channel can utilize a circuit capable generating a demodulation frequency of a particular frequency. At each of multiple steps, various phases of selected frequencies can be used to simultaneously stimulate the rows of the touch sensor panel, and the multiple mixers in each sense channel can be configured to demodulate the signal received from the column connected to each sense channel using the selected frequencies. After all steps have been completed, the demodulated signals from the multiple mixers can be used in calculations to determine an image of touch for the touch sensor panel at each frequency. The inventors are Christoph Horst Krah, Steve Porter Hotelling, Sean Erick O' Connor and Carl Wayne Westerman.

Patent number 2008030964 is for systems and methods for providing device-to-device handshaking through a power supply signal. Handshaking circuits are provided in a communications cable and in a device operable to be mated with the communications cable. Before a device can utilize the power supply signal of such a communications channel, the two handshaking circuits must sufficiently identify one another over a power supply signal with a decreased voltage. The decreased voltage allows for a cable plug to be provided with a safe, protected power that cannot cause harm to a human. The decreased voltage also reduces the chance that a device can receive a primary power supply signal from the cable before the device sufficiently identifies itself. Accordingly, a laptop may be connected to a portable music player, but the voltage of the power supply signal provided by the laptop to the cable may be decreased on-cable until the handshaking circuit of the portable music player sufficiently performs a handshaking operation with a on-cable handshaking circuit. The inventors are Doug Farrar, Lawrence Heyl and Brian Sander.

Patent number 200803013358 is for a method and apparatus for communicating with an embedded controller within a computing device. A system that communicates with an embedded controller within a computing device. During operation, the system queries the embedded controller to obtain information describing an interface for interacting with a functionality provided by the embedded controller. The system then receives a response from the computing device which includes a reference to a metadata object describing the interface. If the metadata object refers to other metadata objects, the system recursively queries the embedded controller to obtain information about the other metadata objects until a complete description of the interface is obtained. The inventors are David R. Falkenburg and Ryan A. Hoagland.

Patent number 200803013292 involves threaded presentation of electronic mail. A threaded list of e-mail messages is provided by checking each received message against previous messages to determine whether the new message is associated with previous messages. If so, then a new thread is created. The new thread has an associated thread header, which stores metadata bout the messages in the thread. If the received message is related to messages in an existing thread, then the received message is added to that thread, and the thread header for that thread is updated to reflect data from the received message. The thread header appears with messages in a message list view of the inbox, and provides data about the thread. Messages that are not part of a thread are shown in the same view as threaded messages, without a thread header. This allows a user to view both threaded and non-threaded messages in a single view. The inventors are Scott Forstall, Greg Christie and Stephen O. Lemay.

Patent number 200803013358 involves interruption control. A communications system in which a user may control interruptions to ongoing communications operations is provided. Using a communications device, a user may perform any suitable communications operation (e.g., voice, video or data communications). In response to receiving a communications request from another device, the communications device may determine whether the other device is authorized to interrupt the ongoing communications operation using any suitable approach (e.g., priority rankings of devices, or specific exceptions for certain devices). The interruption, if authorized, may be in any suitable form including, for example, audio interruptions, visual interruptions, physical interruptions, or any other suitable interruption type. The inventor is Michael M. Lee.

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