Apple is granted a patent for 3D hand tracking using depth sequences

Apple has been granted a patent (number 9,811,721) for “three-dimensional hand tracking using depth sequences.” It relates generally to the field of computer vision and machine learning.

In the patent filing, Apple says that the ability to understand human gestures, and, in particular, hand gestures, as they relate to human-computer interactive (HCI), is a “very important” aspect in understanding the intentions and desires of the user in a wide variety of applications. The company’s invention involves a system and method for 3D hand tracking.

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To what end? Beyond the Face ID technology and the TrueDepth camera that debuted with the iPhone X (and is expected to move to other Apple devices in the future), hand gesturing could be used as a new input methodology for tasks such as touchless drawing.

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.