Find My Apple Pencil described in Apple patent via acoustic signals

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Find My Apple Pencil described in Apple patent via acoustic signals

A Find My Apple Pencil feature could be on the way, described in a new Apple patent application published today.

Interestingly, the method Apple describes doesn’t use an ultra wideband chip, but rather an acoustic signal …

Currently, you can use the Find My app to track down most of your Apple devices, but the Apple Pencil isn’t one of them. Patently Apple spotted a sign that this may change in the future.

Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to adding Apple Pencil to Apple’s list of devices that could be a part of “Find My” devices service […]

Apple’s patent is related to locating a lost Apple Pencil, or other peripheral input device that can be made possible by acoustic resonators integrated within housing structures of the stylus. Acoustic resonators can be formed at an end of the stylus opposite its tip, and can include portions of the stylus outer housing that are thinned down to an engineered thickness that has a particular resonant behavior or frequency […]

In some examples, an electronic device can communicate a location request to the stylus and can cause the stylus to generate an acoustic signal for a specified target detector using the acoustic resonators.

Resonant frequency is the name given to the frequency at which an object vibrates with the greatest amplitude. You’ve probably experienced this on a plane or train, for example, when an object on your tray table suddenly starts vibrating like crazy. That’s because a frequency generated by the vehicle matches the resonant frequency of the object.

Resonant frequency is also how you can use sound waves to break a glass (or a bridge).

What the patent describes is using your iPhone to generate an acoustic signal at the resonant frequency of the end-cap of an Apple Pencil, causing it to vibrate.

While it’s a relatively crude location method, it would have the benefits of being both cheap and effectively taking up no space. It wouldn’t help if you left the Pencil behind at a coffee shop or similar, as it would need to be within acoustic range. However, it would at least help you find it if it’s nearby.

Photo: Debashis RC Biswas/Unsplash

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