Find My Apple Pencil, described in an Apple patent, using acoustic signals

There may be a Find My Apple Pencil feature described in a new Apple patent application published today.

Interestingly, the method described by Apple does not use an ultra-wideband chip, but an acoustic signal …

Currently, you can use the Find My app to track most of your Apple devices, but the Apple Pencil is not one of them. Clearly Apple has seen a sign that this may change in the future.

The US Patent and Trademark Office today released a patent application from Apple regarding the addition of the Apple Pencil to the list of Apple devices that may be part of the Find My Devices service. […]

The Apple patent is related to finding a lost Apple Pencil or other peripheral input device, made possible by acoustic resonators built into the stylus body design. Acoustic resonators may be formed at the end of the needle opposite its tip and may include portions of the outer body of the needle that are thinned to a calculated thickness that has a particular resonant behavior or frequency. […]

In some examples, the electronic device may send a location request to the stylus and may cause the stylus to generate an acoustic signal for a specific target detector using acoustic resonators.

The resonant frequency is the frequency at which the object vibrates with the greatest amplitude. You’ve probably experienced this on an airplane or train, like when an item on your tray suddenly starts vibrating like crazy. This is because the frequency generated by the vehicle matches the resonant frequency of the object.

The resonant frequency also allows sound waves to be used to break glass (or a bridge).

The patent describes using your iPhone to generate an acoustic signal at the resonant frequency of the butt of an Apple Pencil, causing it to vibrate.

Even though it is a relatively crude method of locating, its advantages are that it is cheap and does not take up space efficiently. It won’t help if you leave your pencil in a cafe or similar place, as it must be within the acoustic range. However, this will at least help you find him if he is nearby.

Photo: Debashis RC Biswas/Unsplash