google_touchpads_patent

Google Patent Hints at Touchpads Everywhere

February 19, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

The various national patent offices are usually the place to find some of the more out-there ideas from tech companies, with the twist being that they have a higher chance of coming to fruition in some form than most rumors. With Alphabet already being a fairly innovative and far-out breeding ground for tech ideas, one would be remiss not to expect some fairly unique stuff from their patent portfolio. One such patent, filed on February 18, shows laptop-style touchpads placed on hats, purses, clothing and just about any other object you may imagine. The touchpads were shown in the patent as linking to other devices via a network connection of some sort.

In essence, this patent would allow you to control your computer, TV, smartphone or other such smart device from just about any surface that Google sees fit to place a touchpad on. The touchpads proposed for this use consist of a precise capacitive sensor that would allow things like mutli-finger clicks and gestures. The touchpads can apparently also be woven into fabric, allowing for a seamless look and feel. The patent also indicates that no computing would take place onsite with these touchpads – they would gather up the data and feed it to another device to be computed and acted upon. Another interesting part of the patent, showing off one of the possible uses for this technology, shows what appears to be a drinking cup with a touchpad on it that allows a user to hook it up to a rig that can heat it via plastic granules. Presumably, the touchpad would allow the user to control the heat. Cold drinks may also be an option.

The implications for this type of universal control run fairly deep, especially considering the current advancements and pace of the market in the Internet of Things space. It’s not a huge stretch to think of things like a gesture to unlock your house or car door, controlling the music, heat and cooling and other things in your environment or simply sitting on your couch and using our sleeve to surf Netflix. This is only a patent, of course, so nothing definite regarding materials, partners or dates was announced.