Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,945,484) for “haptic output devices” that hint at, among other things, Apple Socks or even Apple Shoes that could interact with gaming software.
Haptic output devices may provide haptic output to a user. Per Apple’s patent, such devices may include foot-shaped structures with cavities configured to receive the feet of users. The haptic output devices may also include foot platforms with planar exterior surfaces on which a user may stand.
And here’s where it gets a bit complicated. Per the patent, in hybrid arrangements, haptic output devices include foot-shaped support structures with components such as magnets and a foot platform components with corresponding electromagnets. Haptic output components such as piezoelectric components, electroactive polymer components, electromagnetic actuators, and other haptic output components may be mounted to haptic output device support structures in arrays.
Shear forces and forces normal to the inner surfaces of a foot-shaped support surface and/or the exterior surface of a foot platform may be generated. Haptic output may be generated based on sensor signals such as sensor signals associated with foot movement.
In the patent data, Apple notes that haptic output components may supply a user with haptic output while the user is interacting with software such as gaming software. However, t can be challenging to design a haptic output device.
Apple says that if care isn’tt taken, haptic output may too weak or may not provide a desired sensation for a user, haptic output may not be applied to an appropriate location on the body of a user, or a haptic output device may be overly bulky or difficult to use. The tech giant wants to change this.