Apple patent app describes flexible, wearable, watch-like AMOLED device – iWatch

 

 

Can this be the next big thing for $AAPL [Apple Computers], certainly the technology for a wearable and bendable display is a few years off if not more.

The company has also recently passed several patents including its liquid metal patent, a cellular antenna patent, and others that mention integrating features into an iPod nano-like wristwatch form factor.

In terms of what such a watch would look and feel like, the NYT article suggests we look no further than the glass company Corning (GLW), who already makes the glass used in iPhone screens, and who currently claims to be very near to perfecting a flexible type of glass -“Willow Glass”- that would be at once durable as well as comfortable on the wrist.

Flexible Glass

Flexible glass is a legendary lost invention from during the reign of Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar (between 14-37 CE). As recounted by Isadore of Seville, the craftsman who invented the technique brought a drinking bowl made of flexible glass before Caesar who threw it to the floor, whereupon the material dented, rather than shattering. The inventor then repaired the bowl easily with a smallhammer. After the inventor swore to the Emperor that he alone knew the technique of manufacture, Caesar had the man beheaded, fearing such material could undermine the value of gold and silver.

Flexible glass may be used to print electronics. Thin & tempered, flexible glass is now produced by the LiSec Corporation for the solar module industry.

In 2012 Corning (GLW) introduced Willow Glass, a type of flexible glass that is an aluminosilicate type (as opposed to borosilicate type glasses), following the strong and hard aluminosilicate Gorilla Glass, not claimed to be flexible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willow_Glass#Developments

Other iWatches

Sony released its very own smartwatch in 2012 which costs $149. It is powered by Android and can pair to any handset with Bluetooth.  It features a 1.5-inch OLED display and allows users to access email, text messages, calls, and other applications. These types of devices will allow users to access a specific ecosystem on all of their electronics.

 

What’s a Wearable?

To date, personal computers have not lived up to their name. Most machines sit on the desk and interact with their owners for only a small fraction of the day. Smaller and faster notebook computers have made mobility less of an issue, but the same staid user paradigm persists. Wearable computing hopes to shatter this myth of how a computer should be used. A person’s computer should be worn, much as eyeglasses or clothing are worn, and interact with the user based on the context of the situation. With heads-up displays, unobtrusive input devices, personal wireless local area networks, and a host of other context sensing and communication tools, the wearable computer can act as an intelligent assistant, whether it be through a Remembrance Agent, augmented reality, or intellectual collectives. *http://www.media.mit.edu/wearables/

 

USPTO Application

http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=20130044215&OS=20130044215&RS=20130044215

1. A wearable video device arranged to be worn by an end-user, comprising: a flexible substrate having a flat state and a curled state; a flexible display disposed upon a first surface of the flexible substrate, wherein in the curled state the flexible substrate conforms to an appendage of the end-user, the flexible substrate further comprising: an electronic module in communication with the flexible display, the electronic module providing information to the display, at least a part of which is presented in real time for presentation by the flexible display; and a mechanism for detecting an end portion of the flexible display, the detection for adjusting the arrangement of information shown on the flexible display to match the size of the appendage the wearable video device is mounted on.

2. The wearable video device as recited in claim 1, wherein the end detection mechanism allows the displayed information to smoothly continue across a portion of the wearable video device where the flexible display overlaps itself.

3. The wearable video device as recited in claim 2, wherein the flexible substrate is a bi-stable spring substrate.

4. The wearable video device as recited in claim 3, wherein the electronic module comprises: a wireless communications antenna; a battery; an integrated circuit for driving the flexible display; and a data and power connector.

5. The wearable video device of claim 4, wherein the flexible display further comprises: a user interface in the form of a touch sensitive sensor overlaid on the flexible display.

6. The wearable video device of claim 5, wherein the flexible display wraps around at least one edge of the bi-stable spring substrate.

7. The wearable video device of claim 6, wherein the mechanism for detecting an end portion comprises: capacitive elements disposed in a recognizable pattern on one end of a second surface of the bi-stable spring substrate, the capacitive elements arranged to interact with the touch sensitive sensor on the flexible display.

8. The wearable video device of claim 7, wherein the position of the capacitive elements on the touch screen allows the wearable video device to determine where the end of the wearable video device comes in contact with the touch screen, so that the wearable video device can deactivate the covered portion of the flexible display and can properly configure the continuous display around the wearable video device.

9. The wearable video device of claim 5, wherein the electronic module uses a sensor for detecting a change between the flat state and the curled state of the bi-stable spring substrate, and then adjusts the user interface to optimize it for the new bi-stable spring state.

10. The wearable video device of claim 5, wherein the electronic module further comprises: an inertial orientation sensor, wherein when the wearable video device is in a curled state the inertial orientation sensor allows the wearable video device to reorient the user interface towards the user.

11. The wearable video device of claim 10, wherein when the wearable video device is in the curled state and in a power saving mode the inertial orientation sensor determines when the wearable video device has been oriented into a viewing position and then directs the wearable video device to reactivate the flexible display.

12. The wearable video device of claim 10, wherein when the wearable video device is in a low power state the inertial orientation sensor determines when the wearable video device has been oriented out of a viewing position and then directs the wearable video device to reduce power consumption.

13. A method for passing information between an accessory device disposed on one surface of a bi-stable spring substrate and a portable electronic device, the accessory device having a flexible display arranged to present a first set of visual information, the portable electronic device having a portable electronic device display arranged to present a second set of visual information, the method comprising: determining whether the accessory device is being worn by an end-user, the determining accomplished by at least one sensor on the accessory device; when it is determined the accessory device is being worn by the end user, establishing a communication channel between the accessory device and the portable electronic device, the communication channel arranged to provide a bi-directional communication link between the flexible display and the portable electronic device; passing information between the portable electronic device and the accessory device by way of the bi-directional communication link, wherein at least a portion of the passed information is presented by the flexible display as the first set of visual information; and displaying the first set of visual information by the flexible display.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the first set of visual information comprises a user interface arranged to receive a user input event, the method further comprising: receiving an input signal in accordance with the user input event at the portable electronic device; and transmitting at least a portion of the user input to the portable electronic device over the established communication channel.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the method further comprises: recharging a battery housed within the accessory device by way of a plurality of ambient light energy collectors disposed across a portion of one surface of the accessory device.

16. A slap bracelet configured to display information wirelessly transmitted from a portable electronic device, the slap bracelet comprising: a communication link, allowing two-way communication between the slap bracelet and the portable electronic device; a flexible display disposed over a portion of a first surface of the slap bracelet; a touch sensitive user interface disposed over the top of the flexible display; and an electronic module disposed on one end of the first surface of the slap bracelet; wherein information generated on either device can be displayed on either the host device display or the flexible display.

17. The slap bracelet as recited in claim 16, wherein the electronic module comprises: a wireless communications antenna; a battery; a data storage component; an integrated circuit for driving the flexible display, and a kinetic energy gathering component, wherein the battery can be trickle charged by the kinetic energy gathering component.

18. The slap bracelet as recited in claim 16, wherein power supplied to the slap bracelet is at least partially provided by ambient light energy collectors disposed on at least one edge of the accessory device.

19. A non-transitory computer readable medium for storing computer instructions executed by a processor in a portable electronic device for controlling a flexible accessory device mounted on a bi-stable spring substrate in wireless communication with the portable electronic device, the non-transitory computer readable medium comprising: computer code for establishing a communication channel between the flexible accessory device and the portable electronic device; computer code for receiving a user input on a first user interface built into the portable electronic device; computer code for interpreting the user input with the portable electronic device processor; computer code for sending display data across the communication channel; and computer code for displaying the display data on a flexible accessory device display.

20. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 19, wherein the accessory device has a second user interface, the non-transitory computer readable medium further comprising: computer code for receiving a user input at the second user interface; computer code for transmitting the user input to the processor portion of the portable electronic device; computer code for translating the user input from the second user interface into a control signal; and computer code for adjusting display data located on a portable electronic device display.

21. The non-transitory computer readable medium of claim 20, wherein the second user interface is comprised of the flexible accessory device display and a touch screen sensor.

Posted in Blog, Breaking News, Commentary Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,