Apple Patents Modular Straps For Smartwatches And A Crack Detector For Screens

By Edge Ison , Feb 20, 2017 07:12 AM EST

Apple has received patents for two new technologies. One involves a sensor that detects when a screen gets cracked and the other is a modular strap for smartwatches.

Apple is trying to find ways to finally be rid of one of the most annoying issues with an iPhone - cracked screens. The tech giant sees its new patent filed as "Coverglass fracture detection" as a huge step towards that goal. The patent is a system that is made up of a network of sensors that can detect cracks. According to AppleInsider, the patent which was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last Feb. 16 will be able to detect hairline fractures on the glass allowing the company to study how such things happen. While these mechanisms will not solve the cracked screen issues per se, it will help engineers finally discover what makes the screens crack easily and how to solve it.

The technology has a few possible embodiments. One is the use of touch sensors embedded in the iPhone or iPad's display. Another is to place piezoelectric actuators right under the coverglass. These actuators can then send vibrations out to different parts of the display to see if there are cracks or fissures. Emitters can also be placed at one end of the screen which can send light pulses to sensors on the other end through mirrors or prisms. The light can effectively tell if there are cracks on the display as well as on its interior.

Apple also recently received a patent for modular straps for its Apple Watch line. The straps have 'links' that correspond to different features such as a camera, a GPS, better battery, or a certain media function. Users can purchase a 'base' watch and add the links of their choosing.

Another interesting new patent is that multi-function band dubbed 'Magnetic Wristband'. As the name implies, the wristband attaches to the body of the watch via magnets. The watch, when not worn, can be made to stand up by simply rolling the strap.

Apple is on a roll lately with a number of patents being granted. Probably one of the most interesting patents it just received is the one concerning a vaporizer which may indicate that the tech conglomerate is planning to enter the vaping industry.

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