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Apple Patent Sees You Computing Hands-Free in 3D

Illustration for article titled Apple Patent Sees You Computing Hands-Free in 3D

Apple's got the patent office working overtime again, this time with an application for a 3D display that rotates objects based on the relative position of the user.

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According to the filing dug up by MacRumors, Apple's trying to bring a little hyper-reality to your monitor. Instead of using a keyboard or a click to move a 3D object, you'd simply have to move your head to manipulate the image. It sounds similar in concept to Johnny Chung Lee's heroic Wiimote hack that effectively turned your head into a mouse, though nothing in the Apple patent suggests you'd have to wear a sensor. Instead, a mounted camera would track your movements, and possibly also the environment around you.

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The patent application also proposes incorporating the technology into 2D functions—like layering open applications—to provide a more intuitive, hands-free interface with your display for everyday tasks as well.

Illustration for article titled Apple Patent Sees You Computing Hands-Free in 3D

This isn't the first time Steve Jobs has explored a 3D solution, but with recent advancements like Natal and MIT's bidirectional display, it's more probable than ever that we'll see this—or something like it—come to fruition. [Apple Patent via MacRumors]

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DISCUSSION

I'm equally interested in seeing Apple's gesture recognition patents become a product. Despite its flair, multitouch isn't a feature that is especially useful for either the desktop or laptop form factors. It's not ergonomic, requires more costly components, isn't backward compatible, and results in smudgy primary displays.

On the other hand, gesture recognition using a built in webcam is far more preferable for the desktop. It won't smudge the displays, won't require additional hardware, won't make a user lean over to manipulate onscreen objects, and is backward compatible with all existing computers that have built in webcams. For Apple products this would mean all iMac's and Macbooks.