Optical sensors could replace the Apple Watch Digital Crown

If Digital Crown is missing, you can’t accidentally break it.
Photo: David Snow / Cult of Mac

Apple Watch Digital Crown helps users take full advantage of the watchOS interface, in addition to using the touch screen wearable device. But it looks like future Apple watches could drop the crown in favor of optical sensors, according to a new patent filed by technology giant from Cupertino.

Patently Apple reported the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which has released a new Apple patent showing how optical sensors can replace Digital Crown. Sensors could identify user gestures, turning them into commands.

Removing Digital Crown would allow for less moving parts

According to the report, the name of the new patent is “Clock with optical sensor for user input. It shows that Apple’s optical sensors can help users scroll through the interface. And by eliminating the need for a crown, the sensors also reduce the number of moving parts in the Apple Watch.

In addition to increasing that endurance factor – no crown means you can’t break it – Apple mentioned in the patent that it takes away the crown, it makes space. Other components in this area may include new sensors or a larger battery.

As Apple said:

For example, the user may provide gestures and gestures near the input component that the input component can detect and interpret and user entries to control some aspect of the clock. The movements and movements provided by the user can be directly detected by the optical systems of the input component, so that the number of moving parts is reduced and the space within the clock is used more efficiently.

Look, Mom, there's no Digital Crown.  The image from the patent shows the optical sensors that replace it.
Look, Mom, there’s no Digital Crown. The image from the patent shows the optical sensors that replace it.
Patently Apple

Health characteristics of optical sensors

Digital Crown also has an electric heart sensor that allows an ECG to be read. The patent shows that new optical sensors can measure heart rate, blood oxygenation level, blood pressure, breathing rate and much more.

Rumor has it that the Apple Watch will add health features by 2022, including blood pressure monitoring.

It is worth noting that not every patent necessarily results in new products or product features. And if Apple decides to replace the digital crown of Apple Watch with optical sensors, that may not happen right away.

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Naveen Kumar

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