Apple files patent for new Taptic Engine with Inductance Sensor

Apple is known for embedding some of the best vibration motors in its smartphones. The company uses ‘Taptic Engine’ to provide industry leading haptics. The noted Tech YouTuber MKBHD has praised the quality of vibration motors in the iPhones several times in his video reviews.

To improve the experience, Apple could be planning to add a new inductance sensor. It will help in sensing the relative movement between a coil and a field member. It will also include a processor which will be configured to drive the coil based on the inductance sensor.

In the patent, Apple writes the function of a haptic actuator as a device that provides tactile feedback to users. It applies force on the user of the iPhone through the actuation of (a part of) the mass of the haptic device.  

“… deformation of the display layer, caused by user input, may cause displacement of the field member, the displacement of which may be measured by way of the strain sensors. If a threshold amount of force is applied, as determined by the processor, the processor may operate the haptic actuator to provide haptic feedback, for example, to provide a “click” feedback based upon the input.”

An image from the patent shows a mobile device which contains the haptic actuator. The “HAPTIC ACTUATOR” is in the middle and two strain sensors are placed on either side of the haptic actuator. Below that, a “processor” and “wireless communications circuitry” are placed.

PatentlyApple quotes an article published by EDN in 2016. It reads as, “Inductive-sensing technology is revolutionizing the traditional approach to designing human-machine interfaces (HMIs). System designers are rethinking fundamental building blocks such as simple on/off buttons and attempting to solve many of the problems that have existed in button designs for decades.”

Apple could implement the new haptics in the upcoming iPhone models.

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