Apple Working on 3D 'Hyper-Reality' Displays

Apple's patent applications always provide an interesting peek into what Apple researchers have been working on. In one of the more interesting patent applications we've discovered, Apple appears to be researching 3D displays in which the user will be able to look around an object.

In order to view a 3D object from various angles on your screen at present, you are required to use the mouse or keyboard to manipulate the object. This might simply involve clicking and dragging to pan or rotate an object. While functional, Apple considers this to be unintuitive and potentially frustrating to new users.

050903 look3 600

Apple proposes that a display could change the perspective of the 3D objects based on the users' relative position. Said display would detect the user's position through any suitable approach (such as video, infrared, electromagnetic fields etc...). Video, of course, is the most likely possibility with a camera mounted at the top of the display itself, thus allowing the computer to determine the user's location and position. The user could then move their head left and right to look around a 3D object as shown in the example image above. Apple also suggests that it could also be applied to 2D objects like windows to provide some added depth to traditionally flat objects:

051335 look4 600

In fact, Apple suggests that software could be so advanced as to incorporate elements of the user's environments into the scene on the display.

For example, the electronic device may define visual properties of different surfaces of the displayed object (e.g., reflection and refraction characteristics), and apply the visual properties to the portions of the detected image mapped on each surface. Using this approach, surfaces with low reflectivity (e.g., plastic surfaces) may not reflect the environment, but may reflect light, while surfaces with high reflectivity (e.g., polished metal or chrome) may reflect both the environment (e.g., the user's face as detected by the camera) and light. To further enhance the user's experience, the detected environment may be reflected differently along curved surfaces of a displayed object (e.g., as if the user were actually moving around the displayed object and seeing his reflection based on his position and the portion of the object reflecting the image).

Apple has been researching these sorts of novel display types for years. Back in 1995, they had even had a similar system built in the lab and referred to these displays as "Hyper Reality" displays. Apple, of course, is not the only company working on such technology. This YouTube video shows this system in action (thanks djellison) on a make-shift Wii system, demoed by Johnny Lee:

Related Forum: Mac Accessories

Popular Stories

Delta Feature

Delta Game Emulator Now Available From App Store on iPhone

Wednesday April 17, 2024 9:58 am PDT by
Game emulator apps have come and gone since Apple announced App Store support for them on April 5, but now popular game emulator Delta from developer Riley Testut is available for download. Testut is known as the developer behind GBA4iOS, an open-source emulator that was available for a brief time more than a decade ago. GBA4iOS led to Delta, an emulator that has been available outside of...
iPhone 15 Pro Action Button Translate

All iPhone 16 Models to Feature Action Button, But Usefulness Debated

Tuesday April 16, 2024 6:54 am PDT by
Last September, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro models debuted with a new customizable Action button, offering faster access to a handful of functions, as well as the ability to assign Shortcuts. Apple is poised to include the feature on all upcoming iPhone 16 models, so we asked iPhone 15 Pro users what their experience has been with the additional button so far. The Action button replaces the switch ...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New App Store Delta Game Emulator

Wednesday April 17, 2024 12:19 pm PDT by
A decade ago, developer Riley Testut released the GBA4iOS emulator for iOS, and since it was against the rules at the time, Apple put a stop to downloads. Emulators have been a violation of the App Store rules for years, but that changed on April 5 when Apple suddenly reversed course and said that it was allowing retro game emulators on the App Store. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...
Provenance Emulator

PlayStation, GameCube, Wii, and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, GameCube, Wii,...
iOS NES Emulator Bimmy Feature

NES Emulator for iPhone and iPad Now Available on App Store [Removed]

Tuesday April 16, 2024 11:33 am PDT by
The first approved Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) emulator for the iPhone and iPad was made available on the App Store today following Apple's rule change. The emulator is called Bimmy, and it was developed by Tom Salvo. On the App Store, Bimmy is described as a tool for testing and playing public domain/"homebrew" games created for the NES, but the app allows you to load ROMs for any...