We have the Apple Watch. “Apple Glasses,” a head-mounted, augmented reality system is coming in (depending on which rumors you believe) 1-3 years. Apple is also looking into “finger-mounted device with fabric” that could control a Mac or the AR system, per a new patent filing (number 20190346938).
In the patent filing, Apple notes that electronic equipment such as computers and head-mounted display systems are sometimes controlled using input-output devices such as gloves. A glove may have sensors that detect user hand motions. The user hand motions can be used in controlling electronic equipment.
However, the use of wearable devices to gather input for controlling electronic equipment can pose challenges, according to Apple. If care is not taken, a device such as a glove may affect the ability of a user to feel objects in the user’s surroundings, may be uncomfortable to use, or may not gather suitable input from the user. Apple wantsto change this.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “A finger-mounted electronic device may include a body that serves as a support structure for components such as force sensors, accelerometers, and other sensors and for haptic output devices. The body may have first and second side body members that leave the finger pad exposed and an upper body member extending between the first and second side body members. Some or all of the body may be covered in fabric or leather. Fabric may wrap around the first and second side body members and may extend across the upper body member.
“The fabric may cover electronic components. A touch sensor may have electrodes that are formed from conductive material on the fabric or conductive strands in the fabric. Infrared-reflective ink may form visual markers on the fabric for an infrared tracking system. The fabric may have light-transmissive portions that overlap optical components.”
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.