Apple has filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office outlining its pressure sensitive touchscreen technology.
The patent outlines that the touchscreen panels would use a combination of capacitive touch and infrared light sensing to convey force applied to it without the need for additional hardware.
This technology could potentially open up new gesture controls for interacting and navigating your iOS device.
In one particular example within Apple’s patent, the technology uses IR transmitters embedded beneath the bezels of the device that emit light to entirely cover the glass.
That emitted light would travel within the glass of the display and internally reflect when it hits your finger.
The light would then hit a receiver that could calculate the amount of internal reflection, depending on how substantially you press the glass.
Apple also outlines a number of other ways pressure sensitive technology could be used, including uses OLED layers to output a “fourth colour” in an infrared wavelength to discern pressure.
Currently, iOS devices like the iPhone 5S use capacitive touch input components for tracking the position of multiple fingers on the display.
Apple doesn’t actually mention whether it would implement this technology in future iPad or iPhone devices, but it could be used to open new levels of interactions.
You can already use “touch and hold” gestures, as well as multi-finger gestures to interact with your iOS devices, but with force-sensing elements these could be further enhanced.
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Apple pressure sensitive technology patent diagrams