Future Apple Watches could sport Digital Crowns that detect light or touch – MacTech.com

Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11906937 B2) for a “Crown for an Electronic Watch” that shows the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown could get sensors that detect light or touch.

About the patent

“For example, users may interact with a crown by rotating the crown or, in the case of a crown that is rotationally constrained, sliding a finger over a surface of the crown,” Apple says in the patent. “In order to sense the motion of the user’s finger, a crown as described herein may include a window on the part of the crown that the user touches when interacting with the crown.”

Apparently, Apple’s goal is for the Digital Crown to perform as if it is freely rotating but by registering the user’s finger motion and speed rather than continue physical rotations. It may do that by detecting skin, by taking an image of the user’s finger, or by detecting light variations.

According to the patent the Digital Crown may include a light-directing feature configured to direct, onto the image-sensing element, an image of an object in contact with the imaging surface. The Apple Watch may also include a display positioned at least partially within the housing, and a touch sensor positioned below the transparent cover and configured to detect touch inputs applied to the transparent cover. 

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “An electronic watch includes a housing defining a side surface of the electronic watch, a transparent cover coupled to the housing and defining a front surface of the electronic watch, an image-sensing element, and a crown extending from the side of the housing and defining an imaging surface. The crown may include a light-directing feature configured to direct, onto the image-sensing element, an image of an object in contact with the imaging surface.”


Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today