Apple granted 22 new patents, including one for ‘smart’ clothing

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published documentation on 22 recently granted patents for Apple on Tuesday. The patents, as reported by Patently Apple, cover items including clothing technology that could be built into future running shoes, the advanced multitouch trackpads found in Macbooks, and the technology found in Apple TV. The most intriguing patent relates to Apple’s Nike + iPod product. This patent outlines a system for monitoring and controlling user exercises with a sensor inside the shoe. Unlike the normal Nike + sensors, however, the new sensors are designed to send the “tracked garment usage and detected wear patterns to the external database.” The sensor will be able to inform the user of the life of a product, and could possibly incorporate training programs using a “virtual trainer.” Read on for more.

Apple notes in the patent that the Nike + integration could go beyond running and could be used to track various outdoors activities. “Outdoors endurance activities have become very popular not only because they are enjoyable and healthy, but also because they provide opportunities for competition, camaraderie, and a structured regimen,” the patent application said. “It would be beneficial for an individual participating in an outdoor endurance activity such as running, cross-country skiing, in-line skating, or outdoor swimming to be able to monitor his or her performance in metrics such as speed, distance, slope, elevation, equipment used (thereby correlating an individual’s performance to particular running shoes, for example).”

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