Remember our coverage of rumors on the iPad HD launch where we wondered if Apple’s new device would include Senseg’s haptic feedback technology? Well in recent news, Apple has filed a patent for a haptic feedback system that differs from Senseg’s patented technology, suggesting that they may not go with the Finnish company’s tech. Apple’s proposed method for providing haptic feedback would also allow the device to judge the force of a button press. The touchscreen would include a “haptic feedback layer” that could include piezoelectric actuators aligned in a grid pattern.
The filed patent says:
The haptic feedback from the piezeoelectric actuators may allow for enhanced navigation of the content displayed on a display coupled to the touch-based user interface. In one embodiment, the piezoelectric actuators may replace the mechanical “click” of a mouse, trackpad, or other user interface of an electronic device. For example, the touch-based user interface may confirm a “click” by supplying a voltage to the piezoelectric actuators so that the user feels a vibration or other motion. In one embodiment, the electronic device may interpret a tapping motion on the surface of the touch-based user interface as corresponding to a click command. In contrast, when the user glides a finger or other object along the surface of the touch-based user interface, the piezoelectric actuators may remain unactuated. Accordingly, a user may be able to ascertain whether the electronic device has interpreted an input gesture as a click or a scroll.
Senseg’s technology, in contrast, uses an electric field rather than actuators to provide haptic feedback.
This is by no means a decisive blow against hopes that Senseg’s technology will be used in new Apple devices. Apple has been in the haptics game for some time now, filing a patent for a “multi-haptic” system in 2010, as well as a tactile feedback system for a tablet filed in 2009.