Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210117042) for a “method and device for detecting a touch between a first and a second object.” It involves a variety of devices — augmented reality displays, computers, smartphones, tablets, and cars — with touch sensors that react differently to a human touch and the touch of an object.
In the patent data, Apple says that current touch devices can’t differentiate between the deliberate touch of a finger or the accidental touch or bump of another object. The company wants the rumored “Apple Glasses” and “Apple Car” controls to be able to tell the difference via thermal scanning and images. Ditto for the iPhone, iPad, and trackpads for Macs.
Here’s the summary of the patent data: “The present disclosure is related to a method and device for detecting a touch between at least part of a first object and at least part of a second object, wherein the at least part of the first object has a different temperature than the at least part of the second object. The method includes providing at least one thermal image of a portion of the second object, determining in at least part of the at least one thermal image a pattern which is indicative of a particular value or range of temperature or a particular value or range of temperature change, and using the determined pattern for detecting a touch between the at least part of the first object and the at least part of the second object.”