Apple has been granted a patent for a multi-touch display that can sense when and where a finger is near the screen. The patent was one of 13 granted to Apple, and revealed on the eve of Wednesday's expected announcement of a multi-touch Apple tablet.
The patents were awarded by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and reported by Patently Apple, a Website that tracks the company's patent applications and awards as indications of the company's innovations and technology investments.
Patent number 7,653,883 originally filed in Q3 2005, apparently can make use of several different techniques, singly or in combination, to sense a nearby object such as finger or stylus. The techniques include optical shadow, capacitive, inductive, electric field and others, and one or more sensors.
You can find the full filing by typing in the patent number to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's search engine.
The Patently Apple story suggests that the core of the patent may actually concern the control of the proximity sensing technology and relating that capability to the visual user interface. The new patent is one of a battery of Apple applications around display technology, including one that makes LCD pixels "touch sensitive" eliminating several layers in current screen technology resulting in brighter, thinner and lighter displays.
A recent patent filing by Apple shows the company is developing a way to create thinner, brighter touchscreens for its laptop and mobile devices, such as iPhone smartphones.
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