17 February 2017
Apple’s latest patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for "CoverglassCover glass fracture detection," will alert users to any cracks on the cover glass of the device.
Damages to the screen of the iPhone are very common, due to frequent drops, shocks or impact with other objects. Apple’s latest technology will help in early detection of cracks and will even help in preventing such accidents from occurring. Many smartphone makers have started to include protective covering to prevent phones from cracking due to any damages.
Apple’s filing details a comprehensive system of sensors and software that would be able to detect the formation of cracks, or potential cracks, in a protective display cover. Apple notes in the filing that the smartphone's screen is the most susceptible to cracks. The mechanism would use touch sensors, embedded in the iPhones display to detect any cracks and fissures.
The filing also mentions adding piezoelectric actuators under the iPhones cover glass which would send out vibrations and target various sections of the screen. The method will determine the severity of cracks, based on the amplitude of vibrations.
The system would also be able to discern even some hairline cracks and even indicate the fracture depth, length, width, and the propagation rate. The complex system would also be able to alert users in case of any sudden motion, and inbuilt proximity and orientation sensors would also be able to detect a sudden indicative of a fall.
It remains to be seen when or if Apple will implement the new system in its future iPhones. Technology giants file hundreds of patents every year, however, only a few of them are able to see the light of day.