Microsoft Patent | Shape Memory Alloy Actuated Haptic Feedback

Patent: Shape Memory Alloy Actuated Haptic Feedback

Publication Number: 20190004603

Publication Date: 2019-01-03

Applicants: Microsoft

Abstract

Aspects described herein generally relate to a haptic feedback mechanism including a shape memory alloy (SMA) material coupled to a mass and a surface, where contraction of the SMA material causes the mass to move from a first position to a second position causing one of compression or decompression of a spring element coupled to the mass, and where loosening of the SMA material causes the mass the move from the second position toward the first position by the other one of compression or decompression of the spring element. The haptic feedback mechanism also includes a heat source configured to selectively apply heat to, and remove heat from, the SMA material to achieve a modulation of contracting and loosening of the SMA material to cause a vibration of the mass.

Background

Use of computing devices is becoming more ubiquitous by the day. Computing devices range from standard desktop computers to wearable computing technology and beyond. Computing devices and/or corresponding peripherals often include haptic feedback mechanisms for providing touch sensations on the computing devices and/or peripherals as an indication of notifications, events, interaction with the computing devices and/or peripherals, etc. Many haptic feedback mechanisms employ linear resonant actuators (LRAs) to generate the haptic feedback. Such actuators typically employ a magnet and spring assembly to move a mass between first and second positions, where at least one of the positions is near a housing of the device. The movement can be modulated to achieve a vibration effect on the housing of the device for providing the haptic feedback. Typically, such LRAs can employ a voice coil to resonate the haptic feedback based on a magnetic field applied to the voice coil. In other examples, piezoelectric haptic feedback mechanisms can be used. In either case, however, these haptic feedback mechanisms may not be able to provide haptic feedback at lower frequencies (e.g., less than 1,000 Hertz (Hz)), and also may require more than a desirable amount of space for installation in a computing device.

Summary

The following presents a simplified summary of one or more aspects in order to provide a basic understanding of such aspects. This summary is not an extensive overview of all contemplated aspects, and is intended to neither identify key or critical elements of all aspects nor delineate the scope of any or all aspects. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts of one or more aspects in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

In an example, an apparatus for providing haptic feedback is provided. The apparatus includes a mass, a spring element coupled to the mass and coupled to a surface, where the spring element supports the mass and allows for movement of the mass with respect to the surface, a shape memory alloy (SMA) material coupled to the mass and coupled to the surface, where contraction of the SMA material causes the mass to move from a first position to a second position causing one of compression or decompression of the spring element, and where loosening of the SMA material causes the mass the move from the second position toward the first position by the other one of compression or decompression of the spring element, and a heat source configured to selectively apply heat to, and remove heat from, the SMA material to achieve a modulation of contracting and loosening of the SMA material to cause a vibration of the mass.

In another example, a computing device is provided that includes a chassis, a display disposed within the chassis, at least one processor and a memory disposed within the chassis, and a haptic feedback mechanism. The haptic feedback mechanism includes a mass, a spring element coupled to the mass, where the spring element supports the mass and allows for movement of the mass within the chassis, a SMA material coupled to the mass, where contraction of the SMA material causes the mass to move from a first position to a second position causing one of compression or decompression of the spring element, and where loosening of the SMA material causes the mass the move from the second position toward the first position by the other one of compression or decompression of the spring element, and a heat source configured to selectively apply heat to, and remove heat from, the SMA material to achieve a modulation of contracting and loosening of the SMA material to cause a vibration of the mass.

In another example, a method for providing haptic feedback. The method includes detecting, by a processor, occurrence of an event for corresponding haptic feedback, determining, by the processor, a frequency and a period of time for providing the haptic feedback; actuating, by the processor, a heat source to apply heat to, or remove heat from, a SMA material to cause movement of a mass, coupled with the SMA material, at the frequency during the period of time to provide the haptic feedback.

To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, the one or more aspects comprise the features hereinafter fully described and particularly pointed out in the claims. The following description and the annexed drawings set forth in detail certain illustrative features of the one or more aspects. These features are indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in which the principles of various aspects may be employed, and this description is intended to include all such aspects and their equivalents.

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