Apple new touchscreen tech would use IR light to discern hard presses from soft

Using a combination of capacitive touch and infrared light sensing, Apple’s newly revealed touchscreen technology concept allows users to accurately convey force applied to a touch surface without bulky physical hardware, opening new dimensions in GUI navigation and interaction.

Apple’s proposed invention, as described by a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, uses frustrated total internal reflection in conjunction with other touch sensing technology to determine how hard a user is pressing on a device screen.

Perhaps the most well known implementation of FTIR is Microsoft’s Perceptive Pixel touch displays made popular by television news networks and other public applications. Apple’s solution builds on existing systems by affording granular data as to the amount of force being applied by the user.

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