Blog: Patent filing from Apple hints towards 3D user interfaces
Mac-maker Apple has patented a technology which lets users control their computers with hand gestures, Minority Report style.
The technology could eventually end up in Apple’s mobile devices, such as the iPhone 7, completely changing the way users interact with their phones.
The patent is described as a “three dimensional user interface session control” and follows on from Apple’s acquisition of gesture-control company PrimeSense in 2013.
The filing says:
A method, including receiving, by a computer executing a non-tactile three dimensional (3D) user interface, a set of multiple 3D coordinates representing a gesture by a hand positioned within a field of view of a sensing device coupled to the computer, the gesture including a first motion in a first direction along a selected axis in space, followed by a second motion in a second direction, opposite to the first direction, along the selected axis. Upon detecting completion of the gesture, the non-tactile 3D user interface is transitioned from a first state to a second state.
Unlock the iPhone 7 with a gesture?
Of course, this kind of technology is already present in many everyday devices such as Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect. In fact, it was PrimeSense that rose to prominence in 2010 after creating the 3D scanning and gesture tracking technology used to power Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect motion control system.
But Apple’s filing describes users being able to use gestures to unlock and use the device.
The news follows Apple’s filing in 2013 for a “Personal computing device control using face detection and recognition” that could also feature on the iPhone 7.
The technology goes one step further than Android’s facial unlock features and reportedly lets the user control the phone through varying facial expressions following a facial recognition unlock. By combining the two features, the iPhone 7 could become a powerful hands-free tool, using facial recognition for bolstered security features and the hand gestures for ultra-quick app swiping and browsing.
The iPhone 7 is likely to be released in September 2015, sporting a 5-inch screen with no bezels.