Apple files patent for smartwatch band that is a display in itself
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published an Apple patent application to incorporate display into woven fabric. This means the future smartwatch straps to have displays woven right into their material – at least some drawings and certain areas of the application hint at such a future. According to the patent, ‘woven fabrics will include light transmitting fabric that will be woven into fabric to provide a visual display.’ The fabric can then be connected to a portable device and to a user, or the light transmissive fiber can be used to transmit light to deliver information to a user.
Dubbed woven display, the patent hints at using light transmitting fibers to weave light pipe fibers into ordinary fiber. Once weaved, the light pipe fibers can be tethered to a light source, such as LED to visually display notifications and messages right on the band. This means the light pipe fabric can be embedded into the entire fabric (to display notifications) or just be laid out on particular area.
According to the patent, 3D knitting will be used to weave fibers into wrist bands, or more – the bands will be weaved with other fiber sources like glass, nylon etc. There are various ways listed in the patent on how Apple visions to actually meet their objective – which have been detailed as possible applications of the light transmissive fabric. These include – weaving LEDs into the band, using the band display to show notifications from iPhone, iPad, or even weaving fabric into additional displays for MacBook.