RIM has submitted quite a few patent applications over the last few weeks. Previous applications have been for new keyboards, smartphone docks and even a potential foray into forensics peripherals. The newest application from RIM points towards the possibility of a new “pressure sensitive” unlock alternative. By the description that is attached to the application it seems that RIM may be looking into a screen tech that would allow for the user to make an unlock pattern based off of pressure points on the screen.
Here is the main description from the application,
. A handheld communication device, comprising: a touchscreen interface configured to detect contact at each of a plurality of sensing regions defined at a surface of the touchscreen interface; a plurality of force sensors, each force sensor corresponding to one of the plurality of sensing regions, each force sensor being configured to detect a press comprising force above a predetermined threshold applied at the corresponding sensing region; and a processor configured to: store in memory a detected sequence of presses applied to each of said sensing regions, wherein contact is continuously detected at each of said sensing region while said sequence is being detected; match each said sequence of presses against previously stored data at the device; and permit access to functions or data at the device upon determining that each of said sequence of presses matches the previously stored data.
Now we know that RIM has some experience with pressure sensitive screens, I am sure you all remember the Storm’s and their SurePress technology, so is this an extension of that screen tech that RIM is looking into for future devices? I am sure that we will not see this the initial BB10 devices, but it does make us think that some day in the not so distant future we will be seeing something like this on a BlackBerry.
You can check out the full application at the USPTO.