Apple has been granted a series of patents that signals it’s interested in developing a ‘smart fabric’ of some kind.
In one patent, made public on Tuesday, Apple describes a type of fabric with ‘contrasting appearance.’
While no other information is given, it’s likely that the fabric is related to the iPhone maker’s other patents dealing with circuit-infused gloves and connected fabric, according to Patently Apple.
A patent published late last month described a glove with circuitry woven through it, possibly to enable health-related applications, such as blood pressure monitoring.
Any data collected from the glove would then be transmitted to a laptop, phone or another device.
‘A fabric-based item such as a fabric glove may include force sensing circuitry,’ the patent reads.
‘…The fabric may include intertwined strands of material including conductive strands.’
Aside from blood pressure, the patent describes the glove as potentially being capable of measuring heart rate and respiration.
Apple’s increasing focus on health technology lends credence to the idea that it might use the electronic glove for those kinds of applications.
The firm’s latest wearable, the Apple Watch Series 4, has advanced health applications, such as an ECG monitor and sensors that can detect if the wearer has suffered from a fall.
What’s more, many expect ‘smart clothes’ to become more prevalent in the years to come.
Recent studies have explored the idea of ‘wearable screens’ by incorporating organic LED displays into the fabric itself.
Two research teams from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Kolon Glotech developed OLED screens that can be put on a piece of fabric and are more flexible than typical displays, according to Business Korea.
This suggests the possibility that, in the future, we could see screens integrated into clothing and connected to devices like an iPad or iPhone.
Like many patents, however, it’s unclear if any of the tech described in either filing will ever see the light of day.