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Patent Roundup: 'Hover' touch surfaces, liquid-cooled laptops

Robert Palmer
Robert Palmer|December 4, 2008 12:54 PM

Two Apple patent filings have piqued interest this week: One for a touch surface that detects where your finger is hovered above it, and another for a liquid-cooled laptop.

The hover surface works by measuring light reflected off your finger at various wavelengths to figure out where it is over the surface. Apple uses a basic proximity sensor in the iPhone (so it knows when it's up against your ear), but this new technique would allow more precise recognition of objects hovered above a touch-sensitive surface. Unlike a graphics tablet, which requires a stylus, your finger or hand is likely the intended tool for this surface, as evidenced by the drawings.

Second, the liquid-cooled laptop, as with similarly-cooled Power Mac G5s from a few years ago, is designed to improve performance by reducing the temperature of the components of the computer. The patent describes wrapping a small heat pipe around various components in the computer that contains a liquid coolant.

Liquid-cooled G5s, though, were prone to leaks, which led to heavy damage and dismay for users of the systems. Apple entirely replaced many of the systems that leaked, rather than trying to repair them.

[Via Electronista and AppleInsider.]