Another Apple patent filing hints at motion tracking user interface for the Mac

Apple has filed for yet another patent (number 10,401,951) patent for a motion tracking user interface that hints at gesture-based interfaces for future Macs.

Of course, 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. However, Apple says that, 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. 

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Here’s the summary of the invention: “A 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.”

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.