Apple has filed for various patents involving an “Apple Ring,” a wearable device that could theoretically interact with, and control, Macs, the rumored “Apple Glasses,” and other devices. A newly filed patent (number 20210072833) for a“Self-Mixing Interferometry-Based Gesture Input System Including a Wearable or Handheld Device” shows that such a device could add functionality to, for instance, the Apple Pencil.
Sensor systems are included in many of today’s electronic devices, including electronic devices such as smartphones, computers (e.g., tablet computers or laptop computers), wearable electronic devices (e.g., electronic watches or health monitors), game controllers, navigation systems (e.g., vehicle navigation systems or robot navigation systems), and so on. In the patent data, Apple says that, given the wide range of sensor system applications, any new development in the configuration or operation of a sensor system can be useful.
The tech giant adds that new developments “that may be particularly useful are developments that reduce the cost, size, complexity, part count, or manufacture time of the sensor system, or developments that improve the sensitivity or speed of sensor system operation.” Among those developments the tandem use of a ring and “a stylus, a pen, a pencil, a marker, or a paintbrush.”
Here’s the summary of the patent data “A wearable device includes a device housing configured to be worn on a first surface of a user, a set of one or more SMI sensors, and a processor. The set of one or more SMI sensors is mounted within the device housing and configured to emit a set of one or more beams of electromagnetic radiation, with each beam emitted in a different direction extending away from the first surface.
“The set of one or more SMI sensors is also configured to generate a set of one or more SMI signals containing information about a relationship between the device housing and a second surface. The processor is configured to extract the relationship between the device housing and the second surface from digitized samples of the set of one or more SMI signals.”