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Apple dreams of security, safety, and haptics through advanced magnets

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Recent Apple patents introduce new ways to use magnets for door locks, key cards, and haptic feedback. Patently Apple provides a guided tour complete with diagrams and additional magnetic applications.

Magsafe Connector 2011
Magsafe Connector 2011

Some of Apple's recently published patent applications detail a world where magnets can be used to do more than just stick things together. Coded magnets (diagrammed below) could create a unique magnetic signature that sensors could detect to unlock doors or identify users through keycards. In addition, subtle changes in a coded magnetic field could be used for detecting movement and swelling of a damaged battery that could become a fire hazard. Ferrofluids — liquids that can be manipulated with magnetic fields — could be integrated into a mobile device, and forced to bulge up or flatten out to provide haptic feedback on a touch keyboard. Although many Apple patents never materialize into actual devices, Patently Apple takes us on a tour through all these magnetic wonders, allowing us to dream with Apple for a moment.