3D Printering: Key Patents



Here’s a little tip about tech blogs, and journalism in general: absolutely everything you read is one hundred percent true, except in the cases where you – the reader – know anything about the story being discussed. Those stores on Wired and CNet where a device using an ARM Cortex-M3 is described as having, “the same CPU as a modern-day smart phone?” Totally legit, unless you know that running Android on such a chip is a virtual impossibility.

Such is the case with ‘key 3D printing patents set to expire in 2014′ – a phrase bandied about tech blogs with the fervency of news the seventh seal has been broken. If you believe everything you read on the Internet, we’re looking at a world of 3D printed lollipops, unicorns, and rainbows in just a few short months. Following the logic of journalistic veracity above, this obviously isn’t the case. What does the expiration of these patents actually mean, then?

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Nokia Haptikos patent application reveals its technology

We’ve been waiting for more information on the Nokia Haptikos, the haptic feedback touchscreen announced last October and largely forgotten until now. We knew that it would be a device that could raise sections
of its touchscreen to simulate the feel of buttons or keys, we just weren’t sure how Nokia would pull that off.
Now we have a better idea, as Nokia’s recent patent filing for the Haptikos gives away some juicy details.

The secret behind the device’s feedback is a “plurality of closely spaced voltage controllable protuberances,” or in other words, several small fluid filled compartments just under the screen’s surface. Under them are several piezoelectric members that can be controlled independently; when they extend upward, they apply pressure to the fluid compartments, raising the surface of the screen in that area.

Nokia has yet to work out all the kinks, but you can see the parts that do work by downloading the Haptikos patent application (PDF file).

[via Engadget]