Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210337671) for “fabric mounted components.” This seems to hint at “smart clothing.”

About the patent filing

In the patent filing, Apple says it may be desirable to form bags, furniture, clothing, and other items from materials such as fabric. Fabric items generally do not include electrical components. The tech giant adds that it may be desirableto incorporate electrical components into fabric to provide a user of a fabric item with enhanced functionality. 

However, Apple says it can be challenging to incorporate electrical components into fabric. Fabric is flexible, so it can be difficult to mount structures to fabric. 

Electrical components must be coupled to signal paths (e.g., signal paths that carry data signals, power, etc.), but unless care is taken, signal paths may be damaged, or components may become dislodged as fabric is bent or stretched. Apple wants to be able to provide improved techniques for incorporating electrical components into items with fabric. 

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “Fabric may include one or more conductive strands. An insertion tool may insert an electrical component into the fabric during formation of the fabric. The electrical component may include an electrical device mounted to a substrate and encapsulated by a protective structure. An interconnect structure such as a metal via or printed circuit layers may pass through an opening in the protective structure and may be used to couple a conductive strand to a contact pad on the substrate. 

“The protective structure may be transparent or may include an opening so that light can be detected by or emitted from an optical device on the substrate. The protective structure may be formed using a molding tool that provides the protective structure with grooves or may be molded around a hollow conductive structure to create grooves. An electrical component mounted to the fabric may be embedded within printed circuit layers.”

The accompanying image is courtesy of VectorStock.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today