The US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a very interesting patent this week, one that involves a touch sensitive bezel, that can serve as a secondary way of input. It’s used for devices with small screens and change from transparent to opaque when it senses the user’s finger.
This would solve the problem of edge to edge displays, which is pressing the sides of the screen by mistake. The new patent applies to “electronic device, display and touch sensitive user interface” and it describes a method of deploying a touch sensitive bezel, that will extend over a portion of a portable device screen.
This area will hide or reveal itself on command. The documents also mention the partial overlapping by a touch enabled bezel, that will either be partially or totally light transmissive. It goes on saying that the screen is split into two sections, with the uncovered active viewing area being one of them and the covered area the other one.
Circular polarizers or electrowetting techniques seemed to be preferred as technologies applied to the bezel window. Smart Bezel was first filed in September 2012 and it’s granted only now.