Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11650733 B2) designed to make it easier for folks with limited motor skills to control multiple devices.
About the patent
The patent relates generally to electronic devices with touch-sensitive surfaces, including but not limited to electronic devices with touch-sensitive surfaces that include a user interface for controlling multiple devices in an accessibility mode.
In the patent Apple notes that athe use of touch-sensitive surfaces as input devices for computers and other electronic computing devices has increased significantly in recent years. Example touch-sensitive surfaces include touchpads and touch-screen displays. Such surfaces are widely used to manipulate user interface objects on a display.
However, folks with limited motor skills, such as those with certain finger or hand impairments, may find performing certain gestures difficult and may employ alternative input devices to control an electronic device. Still such folks may have multiple electronic devices and only a single easily accessible alternative input device and may have difficulty reconfiguring the input device to control different electronic devices.
Apple wants to provide those with limited motor skills with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for controlling multiple devices in an accessibility mode. Such methods and interfaces optionally complement or replace conventional methods for controlling multiple devices in an accessibility mode.
Apple says that such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface. What’s more, for battery-operated devices, such methods and interfaces conserve power and increase the time between battery charges.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “In accordance with some embodiments, a method is performed at a first device with one or more processors, non-transitory memory, and a display. The method includes displaying, on the display, a device control transfer affordance while operating the first device based on user input from an input device that is in communication with the first device.
“The method includes receiving a device control transfer user input from the input device selecting the device control transfer affordance that is displayed on the display of the first device. In response to receiving the device control transfer user input, the method includes configuring a second device to be operated based on user input from the input device and ceasing to operate the first device based on user input from the input device.”