Apple has been granted another patent (number 9,740,298) for gesture controls that involves ways to control a Mac, iOS device, even a TV with gestures. It also mentions 3D glasses, though it refers to them as a “wearable monitor.”
In the patent notes, Apple says that natural user interfaces are gaining momentum in the entertainment and computer industry, and that gesture controls are supplementing or replacing more conventional and less natural interfaces such as keyboard and mouse, game controller, and remote control.
The user interactions, however, continue to relate largely to the computer monitor, thus limiting applicability and ease of use of such interfaces, notes Apple. For example, some of the gesture controls rely on optical 3-dimensional mapping. Obviously, the tech giant thinks it can do better.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Embodiments of the invention provide apparatus and methods for interactive reality augmentation, including a 2-dimensional camera and a 3-dimensional camera, associated depth projector and content projector, and a processor linked to the 3-dimensional camera and the 2-dimensional camera.
“A depth map of the scene is produced using an output of the 3-dimensional camera, and coordinated with a 2-dimensional image captured by the 2-dimensional camera to identify a 3-dimensional object in the scene that meets predetermined criteria for projection of images thereon. The content projector projects a content image onto the 3-dimensional object responsively to instructions of the processor, which can be mediated by automatic recognition of user gestures.”
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.