The need for truly waterproof smartphones is unarguably important, so it comes as no surprise that most smartphone manufacturers are aggressively pushing their device design towards the ‘waterproof’ edge. Apple inc has gone a long way already in making its devices water resistant. The Cupertino based tech giant is not resting in its efforts to improve the waterproof qualities of its iphone lines. The latest iphone 6s and 6s plus came with improved waterproofing and now the company is making more efforts to further boost this feature.
Few days ago, the United States Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO) approved an Apple patent on a waterproofing design that will add another much needed layer of protection against moisture. The patent titled “Electronic Devices With Housing Port Shutters” , details a design that employ shutters to seal openings over important components of a device to block off any liquid substance or moisture. The important components may include but not limited to the speakers, microphones ,headphone jacks as well as SIM card slots. An electronically triggered shutter initiates a closure of important component openings when ports are not in use or when the environment is determined to be harmful. The shutter would also activate automatically when the device detects any damaging element, such as water or airborne contaminants approach the openings. Owners of the device can also manually turn on these protective shutters via voice command, a physical switch or a digital button on the screen.
The iPhone 7 could be more than just water resistant like the iPhone 6 (much to everyone’s surprise). In a patent filed with the U.S. government, Apple has developed a way to use the polarity of electricity to both prevent and remove liquids from damaging future iPhones. Image credit : Sean MacEntee| Flickr
Still in its quest to achieve a truly waterproof iPhone design, another Apple patent filed in may last year , granted and published by The United States Patent and Trademark Office ( UPSTO ) this November, details yet another applaudable design for a more ‘waterproof’ rather than just a ‘water resistant’ iPhone. The patent titled LIQUID EXPULSION FROM AN ORIFICE with US patent number “20150326959” puts forward the design of an electronic acoustic module that will use sound to expel moisture or contaminant liquid from the orifice of an electronic device. An excerpt from the patent claims reads in part;
A method for expelling a liquid from an acoustic module, the method comprising: detecting presence of the liquid disposed within in a cavity of the acoustic module; applying a charge to a first region of an internal surface of the cavity to change the hydrophobicity of the first region; moving the liquid toward or away from the first region of the internal surface using the change in hydrophobicity of the first region; and expelling at least a portion of the liquid from an orifice of the acoustic module.
Apple’s numerous patent may always be pilling up at the USPTO archive without ever seeing the light of the day. But in the face of a daunting challenge of designing more water resistant devices , employing such measures as contained in Apple’s patent could proof quite useful in the Cupertino based company quest for safer devices. Personally am looking forward to the day i can go to the beach, pool parties, rafting trips and water parks without fearing for my precious iPhone. (That’d be if I decided to get one ).