Apple enters into apparel, invents smart-fabric based gloves

BDApparelNews Desk
1 January 2019  

Smart-Fabrics based Health-Glove that Monitors Blood Pressure and other user Vitals. Photo Courtesy: Patently Apple

Smart-Fabrics based Health-Glove that Monitors Blood Pressure and other user Vitals. Photo Courtesy: Patently Apple

Apple, a name known for the best of technology innovations and developments in electronic gadgets, now owns a patent for smart fabric too.

Recently US Patent & Trademark office published three patent applications from Apple that relates to smart fabric. One of the most interesting innovations is a smart glove that integrates smart fabrics with integrated circuity and forces sensors. These are equipped with blood pressure sensors, respiration sensors, a heart rate sensor and more. The output from these gloves are sent to the IDevice to present the result and these gloves works in conjunction with an Apple device like Apple Watch or iPhone.

The gloves includes a layer of fabric and other layer of material shaped in the form of glove. The working is dependent on the sensors that are located on the top of one or more fingers, on palm or the top surface of the glove that covers the back of a users hand. When the user presses glove finger in downwards towards any surface, the force applied to the fabric and to the force sensors, take the reading and send to an external apple devices.

To give the desired structure to the gloves, it include a non woven material, plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, crystalline material such as sapphire, leather etc.

The company application for patent was originally filled back in March 2018. Moreover, considering that this is a patent application the timing to such a product is unknown at this time.

As Patently Apple reports, Apple's smart fabric glove includes a layer of fabric and/or other layers of material shaped in the form of a glove. Force sensing circuitry such as force sensors may be located on the top of one or more fingers of the glove and/or on other areas of the glove such as on palm or the top surface of the glove that covers the back of a user's hand.

Signal paths may be used in electrically coupling force sensors to control circuitry. The signal paths may be formed from conductive strands in the fabric and/or separate conductive strands (wires, traces on printed circuits, etc.).

The control circuitry may have wired or wireless communications circuitry for supporting communications over a communications link between item the glove and external electronic devices such as electronic device 34 which could be an iPhone, Apple Watch, Head Mounted Display, a Mac and more.
 
During operation, the control circuitry may use force sensors to gather force sensor measurements and may, as an example, provide this information to electronic device or controlling it. If desired, the control circuitry in and external Apple device may be used in processing sensor data. Force sensor measurements may be used in a glove or other input device, in clothes, as part of a heart rate sensor, blood pressure sensor, respiration sensor, etc.

Apple's patent FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative portion of the glove such as a finger portion. The glove finger may include fabric that has been woven, knit, braided and/or sewn to form a shape appropriate for receiving a user's finger.  When the user presses glove finger in downwards towards a desk surface, a compressive force will be applied to the fabric and the force sensors between the finger and a surface will be able to take readings sent to an external Apple device.

Apple's smart glove may include non-fabric materials as well to form the glove into a viable shape. Structures may be formed from plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, crystalline materials such as sapphire, leather, etc.

In some configurations, the glove may include one or more layers of material including layers of polymer, metal, glass, fabric, leather, adhesive, crystalline materials, ceramic, substrates on which components have been mounted, patterned layers of material, layers of material containing patterned metal traces, thin-film devices such as transistors, and/or other layers.

Apple's patent application was originally filed back in March 2018. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time. Two of the Apple engineers listed on the patent include Retired Dan Sunshine who was Manager of Softgoods Products design and Daniel Podhajny in Product Design who came to Apple from Nike's Knit Exploration division where he worked on Flyknit technology.