Patents are surely a way to protect intellectual property and underlines a brand’s focus on innovation. Patents can be used for licensing or a deterrent against litigation. But looking at patents also gives an insight into what a certain company could be working on.
Apple has been granted a patent for a system that could split audio signals into multiple paths, giving the impression that the audio is coming from different points and not directly from the loudspeaker. The patent, published by the United States Patent Office (USPO), suggests a virtual acoustics system could come to Apple’s various devices in the near future. After the launch of the HomePod, Apple has been focusing a lot on improving the audio experience on certain devices, especially the iPhone and MacBook Pro. For instance, the iPhone 11 Pro supports the spatial audio and Dolby Atmos that simulates sound moving in a 3D space. The 16-inch MacBook Pro, too, features better speakers with Dolby Atmos playback support.
Amazon recently received a patent for a “touchless scanning system” that would identify people through their hand movements, rather than faces. This technology means customers would need to scan their hand in order to enter a store and again when they are about to purchase an item. The system essentially captures details of customers through the wrinkles and veins in their palms. There is no guarantee if Amazon will introduce this technology in its stores, but there are reports that the company was testing a similar system at Whole Foods that lets people checkout by scanning their hands. The patent was filed in 2018, and published in December by the United States Patent Office (USPO).
The PlayStation 5 won’t launch before the end of the year, but a new patent gives users a look at the console’s controller. Sony received patent approval for a new PlayStation DualShock controller, which is quite different from the existing controller for the PS4. Perhaps the biggest change comes on the rear of the controller. The new design adds two back trigger buttons to the controller. This controller could come alongside the PlayStation 5, which is going to the Sony’s most ambitious console yet. Before you get too excited, keep in mind that this is a patent for the time being, and there’s no guarantee Sony will mass-produce the design.
A phone with an expandable display? Well, Samsung might consider making one in the near future. The South Korean major recently filed a patent for a smartphone with a display that can be expanded, giving users more screen real estate. It’s an interesting idea to increase the screen size without actually making a foldable phone. In the closed state, the smartphone will look like a regular phone and when open, its screen can be expanded further. The advantage of an expandable display is to deliver immersive viewing experience when watching a movie or playing games. The good thing about such a stretchable smartphone is to increase or decrease the screen, depending on user needs. There’s still a question mark on its arrival, but we do know that Samsung is at least working on a stretchable phone.
While we are yet to see a foldable smartphone from LG, but a case with a foldable screen could be on the cards. The company recently filed a patent for a smartphone case with a flexible display. The patent, published by the World Intellectual Property Organization on December 27, 2019, shows a case design that almost doubles the size of a normal smartphone and has a flexible display on the front. The display folds in exactly the same way as the Galaxy Fold. A flexible smartphone display is not only a clever design but also cost-effective than actually making a foldable smartphone.