“Apple wants people to be able to interact with devices using gloves and other items of clothing, by taking advantage of conductive strands in the fabric to give the wearable garments a force-sensing capability that could be used by an iPhone or another connected device,” Malcolm Owen reports for AppleInsider.

“Published on Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple’s patent application for “Fabric-based devices with force sensing” explains how a garment like a glove could include circuitry in its construction to provide some level of force sensing capabilities,” Owen reports. “By housing the force-sensing elements, this could enable for a glove to monitor when the user touches a surface, how hard the press could be, and how many fingers are touching, allowing for different commands to be issued. ”

“The patent application offers up the possibility of gloves for VR or AR purposes, rather than using held controllers, but could also be used for accessories for existing devices like an Apple Watch, adding more functionality without resorting to an additional element added to the original device’s design,” Owen reports. “For the Apple Watch, Apple has looked into producing bands that light up, add a camera, and other indications. A force sensing fabric could be used to add more health-related functionality to the Apple Watch via the band, or wirelessly via a hat that is also fitted with other sensors.”

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