據外媒Patently Apple報導，美國專利及商標局(USPTO)日前公布蘋果3項有關智慧布料相關的專利申請。其中最引人注目的是，將智慧布料結合電路和力度感測器的手套，可與Apple Watch以及iPhone蘋果設備配合使用。
蘋果不斷投入健康與醫療保健領域，特別是Apple Watch 4上。不過是否會將該技術帶到現實中，還有待長時間觀察。
》監控機師的疲勞度，智慧科技布料即將實現 | This Smart Textile Could Monitor Pilot Stress Levels in the Future
Apple patents ‘force sensing’ fabric for clever clothingIn one of this year’s more unexpected patents, Apple was granted a number of U.S. patents on technologies behind what is being described as a “force-sensing glove”. But before you run off to find yourself a short and suspiciously green master, Apple’s patent looks less like Star Wars and more like it will be used for health purposes.
According to the patents, Apple is experimenting with the idea of weaving circuitry into fabrics. This circuitry would be able to sense pressure and force, and would then be able to transmit that data back to a laptop, phone, or other wearable device. A glove is highlighted as a specific example of an item that could be integrated with these circuits, but the patent is keen to stress that this technology could be applied to work in almost any item of clothing. Without going into deep specifics, the circuits would be interwoven between the strands of fabric, and may include “stiffeners” that pop the fabric back into place after pressure has been released, preventing erroneous readings.
What would be the point of such a device? The jury’s out at the moment, and Apple has been exceptionally vague in most of the patent, choosing to instead focus on the specific mechanics of such a device — as you’d expect from a patent. However, one section of the patent does specify that such force sensing technology could be used as part of a sensor that detects heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, or otherwise. With Apple’s recent focus on healthcare and heart-health in particular on the Apple Watch Series 4, this would be an unsurprising move for Apple to take.
However, potential uses would not end there, and the characteristically vague statements leave a lot of room for speculation. With “force sensors” comprising a huge amount of sensors, it might not be beyond the pale to imagine Apple using the tech to power other variations on “smart clothing”. With scientists at Britain’s Nottingham Trent University having recently discovered a way to integrate solar cells into clothing, it seems ever more likely the future will involve us ditching certain items in favor of “clever clothing”.
Original Article: DIGITAL TRENDS