We have reported many "Apple patents", among which there are some bizarre ideas, which show Apple's understanding of innovation. But the patent to be reported today looks different.
According to the documents recently disclosed by the U.S. patent and Trademark Office, the patent named "self mixing interference based sensors for characterizing touch input" can monitor the input behavior of touch screen through VCSEL sensor (similar to true depth module of faceid).
Each VCSEL sensor can emit invisible "beam" and be accepted or reflected by other sensors. When the user starts typing on the touch screen of the device, the angle of these beams will change, and when a certain threshold value is reached, the corresponding program will be triggered.
This can be used to detect the "force" of the user when typing on the touch screen, so as to realize the "finger half pressing" state similar to the physical keyboard on the virtual keyboard: unless the user's finger reaches the threshold, the specific input text will appear on the screen. This may mean that the user can put his finger on the touch screen without triggering the input, thus realizing the touch input and improving the efficiency of typing.
Apple has been vigorously promoting the development of VCSEL sensors in recent years. The faceid truedepth module of iPhone x is a successful business example. In 2017, apple invested $390 million in Finisar, a fiber-optic component manufacturer that later became a VCSEL sensor supplier for models such as the iPhone X. In addition to faceid, the new patent introduced in this paper may be able to become a new use of VCSEL sensors.