WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Apple has been awarded a U.S. patent for a "smart bezel," designed to provide new input capabilities to touchscreens.
Bezels on smartphones and tablets -- metal or plastic borders around the edges of a display -- currently offer no touch sensing capability, a limitation Apple's patent suggest the company is looking to go beyond.
The patent for "Gesture and Touch Input Detection through Force Sensing" was approved Thursday by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, pfhub.com reported.
Under Apple's suggested design four addition pressure sensors would be built into future touchscreen devices such as the iPhone and iPad, one in each bezel corner.
Portions of the bezel other than the corners would remain inert, allowing users to handle their mobile device comfortably.
The corner sensors could reportedly contain special force sensors which instead of just extending the touch-sensitive coverage areas of the display could detect the starting point and movement direction of a touch, providing a new, complex suite of multitouch gestures to control a device.