Minority Report-style gesture controls may soon become a reality for iPad users. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has recently been granted a patent that outlines a method for creating and manipulating 3D objects by using a touchscreen interface, reports Patently Apple.
In a patent that is appropriately titled “Working with 3D objects,” Apple describes how the revolutionary user interface would operate. First, a user creates a standard two-dimensional object. Then, using “a 3D gesture input that includes a movement in proximity to a surface,” the user generates a three-dimensional object.
Essentially, Apple is using the space above the touchscreen as an additional input control. After touching various points on an iPad screen, a user can “lift” a virtual three-dimensional object off the touchscreen and manipulate it. Although the technology described in this patent seems to be primarily intended for use in computer assisted design programs, it is easy to imagine applications for this interface control that go beyond CAD software.
In the patent background information, Apple notes that CAD programs already allow users to manipulate two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects. However, users must employ a variety of input devices in combination in order to manipulate three-dimensional objects on a typical user interface.
In other words, typical CAD software uses control workarounds in order to allow users to manipulate three-dimensional objects. However, Apple’s proposed method allows a user “to quickly and intuitively generate, modify, and manipulate 3D objects and virtual 3D environments.”
It should be noted that the gesture input method outlined in this patent is considerably different from Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) hand-based gesture controls. Samsung’s Air Gestures feature still requires users to mimic the same type of movements that they would use if they were touching a touchscreen. Apple’s user interface will actually allow users to manipulate three-dimensional images.
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