01 December 2017
Apple is now an assignee of a new patent granted by U.S Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The patent “Dynamic fit adjustment for wearable electronic devices,” explains that there’s a need of self-adjusting bands that can tighten or loosen on their own. The patent describes several methods of self-adjustment of a watch band.
Apple in its patent document notes that conventional watch bands require multiple steps, including things like buckling clasp, pin, and eyelet to achieve the desired fit. Some other bands may even require specialized tools like a folding clasp, deployment clasp, snap-fit clasp, etc. Imperfect watch bands offer many issues, for instance, it may pinch or pull a user’s skin or hair badly during use if the band is overly tight. It can also become overly used when doing exercise due to sweat or continuous motion. An uncomfortable fit can negatively impact Apple Watch sensor readings.
According to Apple’s document details, the bands should be self-adjusting, for instance, a user may prefer a looser fit in a timekeeping mode and a tighter fit in a fitness/health tracking mode.
The method of self-adjustment needs some kind of signals to provide an instruction to the bands that when they should be loosened and when tightened. This will be done with the help of selecting an appropriate operational mode, like tightening mode, loosening mode, flexibility mode, rigid mode, etc. Apart from this system, the document also proposes some other solutions for tensioning including embedded shape memory wire, an internal ratcheting apparatus, gas or fluid bladders (standalone or built into the strap), retractable band elements and extendable portions of the device housing. These systems may work automatically or at a user’s request.
It’s unknown whether Apple is planning to bring this style in the upcoming wearable or not. But, one thing is clear that the company is doing efforts to make even the band of the wearables functional. Some of the previous patents of Apple have suggested us that the company is making even the bands fully functional. For instance, a magnetic design that doubles as a protective encasement when not on the wrist. Another patent suggested that Apple may bring a modular band with links.