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Apple Patent Hints At Shape Changing Mobile Devices

Apple Inc. has been granted another patent, which may usher in a change in future devices. The company has obtained rights for a mobile device with the ability to change dimensions of its screen, which may well lead to Apple capturing the market with a dynamic product.

Incidentally, as reported earlier, Apple also acquired a patent for facial recognition integration for its phone locking mechanism.

The Shape Shifting Technology

The U.S. patent number 9,600,070, filed by the Cupertino-based company is titled “User interface having changeable topography” and details a unique feature.

The patent says that the user’s device can change its shape and dimensions to adjust to the user’s needs. The invention of the technology is credited to Quin C. Hoellwarth and Shuvo Chatterjee.

The patent specifically mentions that the user interface (UI), for example an iPhone screen, can be used for tangible feeling by integrating secondary display elements. This will supposedly help pull or push against a flexible surface. For instance, the iPhone screen could be flexible enough to incorporate digital push buttons at raised or lowered heights.

Apart from the technical modernity, this shape-shifting screen could be a blessing for visually challenged users. They would be able to feel the distortions on the screen, as well as decipher words and sentences easily.

How Can Apple Achieve This?

To incorporate a shape-altering screen, Apple would have to embed one or more nodes in the display. It would be required to laid out in a matrix and then encounter the stretchable surface, to achieve the required shape.

Interaction with the UI would be needed to generate designs, textures, and patterns per requirements.

Depending on the material, the stimuli, and touch, these shape-changing nodes will be able to change their structure and transform. They could elongate, raise, extend, and stretch from its original position.

Another way may be that the actuators can tilt or shift their positions; therefore, affecting screen topography.

MacBooks and iPods can prosper from this technology too. The MacBook’s touchpad can be molded in the same way, as can an iPod’s interface. In addition to UI-related jobs and virtual buttons, this system could also be used for creating a 3D effect for the displayed image.

Apple filed for the patent in 2008 and, therefore, it is not likely that it will use this technology anytime soon. The patent, however, gives an insight into the company’s ongoing research to develop alternate interfaces for users.

Photo: Daniel Dudek | Flickr

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(Via TechTimes)