Today, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new battery pack with a fault-monitoring mechanism. The system utilizes a conductive instrument that would alert users using a color-changing mechanism, and/or a sensor in the battery pack. The monitoring system may apply to MacBooks, the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or a standalone digital camera, according to Patently Apple.
According to the filing, a color-changing mechanism would include “one or more layers of enclosure material that change color upon exposure to air and/or in response to changes in temperature or mechanical stress. The color-changing mechanism may thus detect and indicate physical damage to the battery pack, puncturing of the enclosure material, and/or heat buildup in the battery pack.”
Meanwhile, the sensor mechanism would detect “a change in pressure, temperature, and/or atmosphere within the battery pack using an air sensor, moisture sensor, temperature sensor, pressure sensor, strain gauge, and/or curvature gauge. Consequently, the sensor mechanism may detect punctures, swelling, and/or heat buildup in the battery pack.”
In the event of a fault, the monitoring mechanism would generate an alert and/or disable use of the device.
For example, “the fault-monitoring mechanism may indicate the fault through a visual alert (e.g., color-changing mechanism), an audible alarm, and/or a notification to the operating system of the portable electronic device. Alternatively, the fault-monitoring mechanism may cause a safety circuit for the battery to disconnect the battery from the portable electronic device.”
Apple’s patent application was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Fletcher Rothkopf, Scott Myers, and Stephen Lynch.
Source: Patently Apple