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Apple invention would help users with fine motor impairments

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,961,239) for “touch accommodation options,” which provides methods and devices for touch accommodations to users with tremors or other fine motor impairments to improve the accuracy of such users’ touch inputs on touch-sensitive surfaces. 

Such methods and devices include approaches for: compensating for brief, inadvertent touch inputs; touch inputs with inadvertent motion across the touch-sensitive surface; and/or touch inputs with inadvertent recoil contacts. In some embodiments, the touch accommodations are implemented in a software layer separate from the application layer, such as the operating system (iOS or watchOS).

In the patent Apple notes that the use of touch-sensitive surfaces as input devices for computers and other electronic computing devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches has increased significantly in recent years. Such surfaces may rely on numerous characteristics of the touch input, such as touch duration (e.g., tap versus tap-and-hold), touch motion (e.g., tap versus swipe), and frequency of touch repeats (e.g., tap versus double tap) to map the touch input to a function or command. 

For users with fine motor skill impairments, using such devices can be a challenge. Apple is investigating solutions to aid with this problem.

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.

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Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.