Apple’s New Patent Details a Flexible Band Mounted Camera on Apple Watch

Apple Watch has come a long way. The latest watchOS offers new features like an ability to add more complications, an active decibel meter, female cycle tracking, voice memo and more. The U.S Trademark and Patent Office have granted a patent for future Apple Watch with a built-in camera.

Smartwatch with an in-built camera is not something new. That being said, a smartwatch with camera face a peculiar problem. Adjusting your wrists to get the best camera angle is a tough task and this severely limits image capturing capacity.

Apple’s patent details the solution to the camera angle problem. The patent proposes that camera on the Apple Watch be integrated into the band, instead of the watch body. This way the camera module will be flexible and users can easily choose their preferred angle.

The present disclosure details apparatuses related to wearable devices that capture images and video. A potential barrier to smartwatch adoption is their minimal image-capturing ability. Some embodiments described herein include a smartwatch with the functionality of a camera that is independently positionable relative to a watch body. This can allow the smartwatch to capture images and video at angles and orientations that do not depend directly on the angle and orientation of the rest of the smartwatch, including the watch body. Such functionality can replace or at least meaningfully augment a user’s existing camera or camera-enabled device (e.g., smartphone, tablet). Such a wearable device that captures images and video may do so via an optical lens integrated into a distal end portion of a watch band that retains the device on a user’s wrist.

Holding a camera during FaceTime or video call is not really convenient. Apple seems to have a solution for this. As per the patent, the “watch band may maintain its form after being manipulated and released by a user, to maintain a user-set camera orientation relative to the rest of the smartwatch.” The setup is achieved by making use of a malleable metal core, mechanical links or combination of these features.

Interestingly, the patent also mentions two optical sensors on the Apple Watch. “The user may quickly switch between optical sensors or capture images or video from either optical sensor or from both optical sensors at the same time,” says the patent. Apple’s intent is to make Apple Watch more autonomous and eliminate the need to carry an iPhone. We have seen how Apple is trying to add standalone features to Apple Watch with the recent example of the new over-the-air update.

[via USPTO]