Apple patent filing is for a motion tracking user interface for the Mac

Apple has applied for another patent (number 20180157319) that involves a motion tracking user interface that seems best suited for a Mac. In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that input devices for computer systems commonly include a mouse, a keyboard, or other input devices (e.g., a pen-based device, a track ball, etc). 

Each of these input devices requires a user's spare hand to operate. In some cases, a user may need both hands free to complete a task (e.g., typing on a keyboard) or the user may suffer from a disability that precludes the use of one hand. When the user desires to interact with the computer system, the user must interrupt the task to manipulate an input device. Apple seems to think a hands-free way of interacting with your Mac is a good alternative.

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Here’s the summary of the patent: “method to transition focus of a display corresponding to an object's motion tracked by a video camera or like device is disclosed. In one implementation, the display shows one or more windows or user interfaces on the display. The object's motion can be used to select one of the windows or user interfaces on the display and manipulate content presented in the window or user interface. 

“In another implementations, the object's motion can manipulate a three-dimensional graphical icon in a three-dimensional display environment, for example, by rotating it. In another implementation, the method further tracks motion of a second object and shifts focus of the display corresponding to the motion of the second object. In another implementation, a second display may be added to mirror the focus transition corresponding to the object's motion.”

This isn’t the first patent the company has applied for that involves a motion tracking user interface. Others include number 9,715,273 and 9,417,706.

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.