Items tagged with Patent

Google's taken contingencies for the inevitable day when a self-driving car mows down a pedestrian. To keep injuries to a minimum, Google filed for and was granted a patent for a sort of sticky hood that would grip people who've been hit by an autonomous vehicle. The concept behind it is to prevent people from bouncing off the front of the vehicle and sustaining more damage, whether it's by bouncing off a tree or simply being flung to the concrete. The patent describes an adhesive layer that's applied to the front end of a vehicle. A special coating is then put on top to prevent the hood from being... Read more...
One of our least favorite things to do is type out anything lengthy on a virtual keyboard, like those found on smartphones, tablets, and so forth. With that in mind, you'll have to excuse us for not being stoked about a recently discovered Apple patent for a "configurable force-sensitive input structure for electronic devices." The patent describes a laptop keyboard that replaces traditional physical keys with a special touchpad. If Apple were to implement something like this on, say, a future MacBook model, it would sort of be like typing on the iPad's virtual keyboard, though a little more advanced... Read more...
With so much of the VR talk revolving around Oculus' Rift and HTC's Vive lately, it'd be easy to forget that Sony has its own competitor coming, called PlayStation VR. And now, as new patents have revealed, the Japanese gaming giant could have a nifty trick up its sleeve. Or rather, a trick wrapped around its hands. That's right: it looks like Sony is developing what some could consider a spiritual successor to the Power Glove, that classic late 80s peripheral for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Since the release of the Power Glove almost 30 years ago, there have undoubtedly been some attempts... Read more...
According to a new patent published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is mulling the idea of using "self-healing" material in future iPhones to help prevent water from killing the device. The patent name is subtle: "Electronic device with hidden connector." Where the "hidden" comes in is with the use of an elastomer which will effectively block exposed connectors on the device when not in use. Apple wants this material to color-match with the device it's being used on; for example, black or white. Untouched, it shouldn't detract from the device's aesthetics, and it could actually... Read more...
Don’t get me wrong, today’s smartphones are fast, can have relatively long battery life, and keep us connected at all times. But with a few exceptions — namely the BlackBerry Priv and YotaPhone — they all follow the same basic design principles. You have a 4- to 6-inch slab of glass that’s surrounded by a plastic or aluminum body. You’ll find a few buttons littered around the perimeter of the device and perhaps a single button on the front. Everyone uses this form-factor because it’s efficient and it simply works. But Samsung is looking to the future, and newly unearthed patents show that the company... Read more...
A couple of interesting patents owned by Nintendo were published last week, and while it wouldn't have been surprising to see the details relate to the company's upcoming NX console, it actually has to do with something completely different, and unexpected. According to a post at NeoGAF that dissects the multiple patents, Nintendo is working on a quality-of-life device that sits next to someone's bed, constantly analyzing different variables. It almost looks like a different take on something like Fitbit; Nintendo wants to provide information to the user that will help them get a better night's... Read more...
Investors in GoPro hit the panic button yesterday after it came to light that Apple was granted a bunch of patents, one of which is for a wearable camera design. What they're worried about is the competition that Apple brings to the table -- at present, when it comes to wearable cameras, there's the GoPro's lineup and a handful of non-threatening also-rans. Apple filed the patent application back in March 2012, which describes a camera that can be mounted on things like bike helmets, scuba masks, handlebars of a motorcycle, and the front of a surfboard. The patent application... Read more...
When you're as a big as Apple, lawsuits are impossible to avoid. After fighting Samsung for years on the design front, Apple's latest scuffle in the courtroom is happening in a country where a huge chunk of its profits are coming from: China. Recently, Apple has been attempting to have a Chinese company's voice-recognition patent ruled invalid, as its validity threatens Apple's ability to let Siri run free in China. Zhizhen Network Technology is attempting to block Apple from selling products in China with Siri installed, alleging that by doing so, it's infringing on a patent that it owns. With... Read more...
Last month, news emerged that Philips was suing Nintendo over alleged patent infringements in the U.S., and the proverbial chickens are already coming home to roost in other countries. According to Reuters, Philips said it has won a patent suit in the UK (although no details about amounts for compensation have been shared). The patents concern motion, gesture, and pointing control that Philips licenses to companies that make set-top boxes and game consoles, and the company has asserted that Nintendo has been using the technology in the Wii U without a functioning license agreement. Philips spokesman... Read more...
In what is an incredibly pleasant surprise, Apple and Google released a joint statement stating that the two companies have agreed to drop all of the ongoing patent litigation between them pertaining to smartphones. "Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform," said the statement, according to Reuters. The companies asked a federal appeals court to dismiss all of the pertinent cases. Credit: Elwood_j_blues via Wikipedia There was no indication that other lawsuits would go away, though; Apple’s intense battle against Samsung is still on, for example,... Read more...
To paraphrase David Letterman, we wouldn’t give Nintendo’s troubles to a monkey on a rock. Amid a terrible sales performance that only got worse over the first quarter of this year (Nintendo president Satoru Iwata took a 50% pay cut over the the Wii U’s awful sales back in January) and a mini-scandal when word emerged that users couldn’t be same-sex couples in the 3DS handheld console game Tomodachi Life (an oversight for which Nintendo has apologized), the company has a lawsuit on its hands. Philips is suing Nintendo over two potential patent infringements. The first concerns... Read more...
We don’t know much about Microsoft’s smartwatch efforts beyond the assumption that the company is surely making one if for no other reason than all of its competitors are, but a patent application granted to Microsoft a few days ago gives us a number of clues as to what its smartwatch will be like. First, according to the drawings, the smartwatch looks quite nice. The face is flush with the surface of the watchband so you wouldn’t snag it on clothing or gear. Further, the device itself--which boils down to a tiny, square computer with a built-in display--is removable from the... Read more...
Apple's just been granted a rather interesting patent for an "Electronic device display module," which is really a fancy way of describing a clever dual-sided laptop display with a solar panel on back. The front of the lid would house your typical LCD, though the backside would be constructed from electrochromic glass atop photovoltaic cells and touch sensors. In other words, it's a solar panel. The idea, of course, is that the lid would pull energy from the sun to charge the laptop and/or offer longer battery life. That's not all Apple has in mind, however. As described in the patent filing, the... Read more...
Finally! That's an oft overused term in the technology space, but this time, we mean it. With patent wars thwarting innovation left and right over the past few years, it's a huge relief to see two major companies shaking hands and agreeing to move ahead and look beyond the legal aspects. Apple and Samsung probably still have some ways to go, but Samsung and Google have signed a long-term partnership that includes a global patent cross-license agreement. The deal includes "a broad range of technologies and business areas," with each company dubbing is "mutually beneficial." The agreement covers... Read more...
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