On Tuesday, Apple’s newest patent for “proximity and multi-touch sensor detection and demodulation” was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If this sounds way too technical to you, let us put it in more simple terms – the Cupertino giant is planning to develop devices that you’ll be able to control via gestures only. Sounds cool? It kind of is.
Touching Screens Is So 2015 – It’s Time to Focus on Hover Gestures
The patent, which you can take a look at on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office‘s official website, goes into detail about Apple’s new technology which allows users to interact with computers using the so-called hover events. This has been described in the patent as “the no-touch, close proximity hovering of fingers or other objects above a touch-sensitive surface but outside the near-field detection capabilities of touch sensors.”
If Apple manages to achieve this, we’ll be able to quit apps, turn off our devices, change the brightness of their displays, and so on, by hovering our hands over the screen. As Apple states, hovering over the display could trigger and push a button on the screen, similar to what your cursor does on a computer.
How exactly will the company do this? Using one or more proximity sensors which consist of infrared LED lights and photodiodes, which change electrical currents based on the amount of light they detect. It all comes down to this: the LED produces the light, that light bounces off your fingers or hands, gets captured by the photodiode, and finally recognized as a gesture.
Apple didn’t specify which kind of devices will use this technology, but the image inclded in the patent shows what looks like a laptop with a touchpad. While the whole idea sounds enticing, we doubt that it will see the light of day anytime soon. The company might mention something during its rumoured March event, but we believe it will mostly focus on the new iPhone and iPad Air.
What are your thoughts on this?