The component is able to detect touch operations performed clockwise and counterclockwise at a variety of speeds. Needless to say, these motions represent the process of focusing in or out.
It remains to be seen whether or not this approach is actually practical for photographers. While the previous shutter-touchpad patent revealed that it is capable of identifying different touch inputs that may represent a variety of commands, this particular innovation – on the other hand – is shown to only handle basic focusing functions and nothing else.
Much like the shutter-touchpad, this new approach for interchangeable lenses will likely not sit well with most photographers due to its reliance on touch-based tech to replace traditional mechanisms. Fortunately, as with most patents, there’s also a chance that Canon’s unnecessary attempt of reinventing the wheel may not see the light of day.