U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially released a series of 85 newly issued patents for Apple Inc. today. In this specific report, we cover a single granted patent that has never been published before for a possible future smart sportswear clothing that can monitor the user's health, biometrics and environmental conditions. Apart from sports noise, the invention can be applied to any smart fabric application, such as car seats, part of Project Titan.
Apple notes as part of the patent's background that people often interact with drug-based articles. For example, a user may have a fabric-based watch band that breaks around the user's wrist. Clothing articles may come into contact with the user's skin. A car seat in a vehicle can have a fabric-based cover that rests against the passenger's legs and back.
Conventional text-based articles do not adapt to a person's biometric profile. A person can find a fabric-based article that is comfortable and breathable when the person is at rest, but when it is emotionally stressed or physically active, the person can find the same article to be restrictive and too hot. A person's emotional or physical condition may be adversely affected by a non-responsive substance that does not adapt to the person's activity or biometric condition.
It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved textile-based elements to adapt and respond to the user's biometric profile.
Fabric-Based Elements with Environmental Control Elements
Apple's recently granted patent covers their invention related to control systems and, more particularly, to substances with environmental control elements.
More specifically, a substance-based element can adapt and adjust the biometric condition of a person wearing or touching the fabric-based element. The fabric-based article may be a seat cover for a vehicle, a garment article, a bracelet for a watch, or any other suitable fabric-based item. The fabric-based article may comprise one or more sensors which collect biometric information about the individual and one or more environmental management devices that adapt or maintain the environment around the individual based on biometric information.
The sensors may include temperature sensors, humidity sensors, pressure sensors, heart rate sensors or other sensors that collect biometric information about the user.
The environmental control elements can include thermal haptic devices, such as the Peltier power units, which are used to adjust the temperature of the fabric and thereby adjust the thermal feelings that the person feels.
Other environmental control elements that can be used to control the environment around the individual include humidity control elements, air flow control elements, odor absorbing elements, odor emitting elements or other environmental control elements that can adjust the feelings of the person.
Control circuitry can be configured to operate the environmental control elements of the fabric based on the biometric information collected by the sensors in the fabric.
Fabric-based elements such as clothing and seat covers can include environmental control elements. The environmental control elements can give different emotions to a person who is wearing, sitting on or otherwise near the fabric-based item.
As an example, a car seat cover in a vehicle may contain environmental control elements that regulate the environment around a passenger's body. The environmental control elements can respond to a person's biometric profile. One or more sensors in a substance-based object may collect information about a person's biometric condition, and the environmental control elements may respond accordingly.
In general, environmental control elements can be used in any substance-based article that comes close to a person's body (for example, a backpack or other bag, a sofa, a wristband, a clothing, etc.).
Apple's patent Fig. 7 below illustrates a side view of an illustrative vehicle with a fabric-based environmental control system.
Because environmental control elements can sometimes use thermal effects to induce a tactile sensation to the user, environmental control elements can sometimes be referred to as thermal haptic elements.
Output devices can be controlled based on information from sensors or can be controlled independently of sensors. For example, the fabric # 10 may be pre-programmed or manually operated (for example, the fabric may be manually controlled externally or locally by a control circuit) to enable output units 16 in the desired manner.
Apple's approved patent was originally filed in Q3 2015 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. We will enter the patent number later in the morning.
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