Apple’s latest patent dives deep into Tony Stark territory

Macworld Australia Staff
21 August, 2013
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The latest patent to be filed by Apple with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is for a way to generate and manipulate a three-dimensional object on a computing device, using specific gestures made over the touchscreen’s surface, according to a report from AppleInsider.

The patent is No. 8,514,221 and goes by the name of ‘Working with 3D objects’. Its description on the USPTO site is as follows: “Three-dimensional objects can be generated based on two-dimensional objects. A first user input identifying a 2D object presented in a user interface can be detected, and a second user input including a 3D gesture input that includes a movement in proximity to a surface can be detected. A 3D object can be generated based on the 2D object according to the first and second user inputs, and the 3D object can be presented in the user interface.”

Or, in plain English, the patent describes the graphical interface that would be deployed to bring this magic to life.

3D Objects

“The interface can be a computer assisted design (CAD) application running on a computer with a touch-sensitive surface, such as an iPad,” reports AppleInsider.

The patent details the myriad gestures that would be involved – including ‘pinch and pull’ and ‘pinch and push’ – and also notes the use of 3D or stereoscopic glasses to further enhance the experience.

3D Objects

The technology is similar to that used in the Leap Motion Controller, which launched on 22 July and reached the milestone of more than one million downloads in its first three weeks, though some reviewers have found it to be impressive, but limited.

Other methods of controlling a device using gestures include Kinect and Air Gesture, a current feature of Samsung’s Galaxy S4, but Apple’s patent refers to different technology, as MacRumors.com explains.

“Whereas Samsung uses a light sensor to detect the user’s gestures, Apple’s technology would instead be embedded into the device’s screen,” reports the website.

What Apple intends to do with the patent is, of course, anyone’s guess and any implementation of it could be years away. It’s a fascinating concept, but perhaps we shouldn’t start learning Tom Cruise’s speeches from Minority Report just yet…

by Macworld Australia staff

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