Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,464,476) for “lighting systems of vehicle seats.”
In the patent info, the tech giant notes that the lighting system may be integrated into a seat, a door panel, a dashboard, or other interior portions of a system such as a vehicle. These interior portions of the system may be illuminated with light from a lighting system.
The lighting system could provide aesthetic lighting and informative visual output such as display and status indicator light output. Apple says that current lighting systems for equipment are often insufficiently flexible, may produce output that’s :insufficiently informative and that is not aesthetically appealing, or may be unable to respond to varying input conditions.” The company thinks it can do better.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent: “Lighting may be provided using light sources such as lighting systems with arrays of light-emitting diodes. A lighting system may be integrated into a seat, a door panel, a dashboard, or other interior portions of a system such as a vehicle. The interior portions of the vehicle may be illuminated using lighting systems to provide ambient light, to provide custom surface textures and other decorative patterns, to provide icons, text, and other information, and to provide custom gauges and other illuminated regions.
“Illuminated regions may overlap sensors such as capacitive touch sensors, force sensors, and other sensors. The light-emitting diodes in a lighting system may supply light that passes through openings in a cover layer. The layer may be formed from fabric, leather, or other materials. Lens structures may guide light through the openings.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.