Apple Researching Motion-Sensing Virtual 3D User Interface for iOS Devices

Patently Apple reports on a newly-published patent application from Apple describing the use of motion sensors to create a virtual three-dimensional interface for iOS devices. Utilizing concepts similar those found in a number of existing augmented reality apps, the general device interface could appear as a virtual room that could be navigated by changing the orientation of the device.

The invention covers a 3D display environment for mobile device that uses orientation data from one or more onboard sensors to automatically determine and display a perspective projection of the 3D display environment based on the orientation data without the user physically interacting with (e.g., touching) the display.

Apple describes the use of gyroscope sensors that would allow the "camera view" of the virtual room to rotate as the user rotates their device. Apple also mentions that sensors could be used to detect gestures above the surface of the device's display in order to allow for natural 3D manipulation of the user interface environment.

apple 3d interface iphone
Finally, Apple's patent application discusses a "snap to" feature that would allow users to easily transition between various "walls" within the virtual room.

In another patent application filed in mid-2007, Apple discussed a similar notion of multi-dimensional desktops in Mac OS X, showing a virtual room with various groups of icons on the different walls of the room. Apple followed that up with another patent application looking at hyper-reality displays that would allow for orientation- and motion-based manipulation of 3D objects.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses
Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

RoelJuun Avatar
125 months ago
In a flash I read Apple adopting a Research In Motion interface. The horror.

On Topic:

I still don't believe in 3D interfaces/screens. My eyes get strained after a while. But then again, Apple is usually implementing technologies when they believe they have something really good to offer.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fuzzball7 Avatar
124 months ago
Imagine the lag if Jailbroken.. geez
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
125 months ago
It reminds me of this (//www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFUlAQZB9Ng), an interface I thought looked clumsy even in 1993.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SockRolid Avatar
125 months ago
crazy, weird and illogical, indeed.

Thanks! I aim to please. :-)

----------

Do you have something in mind? I really like how it is.

The best thing about iOS is its ability to quickly get out of your way. There's almost nothing between you and your apps and data. Just a few swipes to get to the right page of icons, then a tap to launch the app itself.

So, what's the glaringly obvious way to make it even easier to get to a specific app?

"Siri, launch Maps." And "Siri, open MacRumors.com." No bizarre 3-d "walls" needed.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Phazer Avatar
125 months ago
There are several apps in the App Store that already do exactly this, *even on iOS*.

If the US Patents Office doesn't throw this out under prior art instantly the place may as well get burnt down.

Phazer
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmwebs Avatar
125 months ago
I may be 100% wrong here so forgive me, but doesn't the 3DS already do this? I was under the impression that the screen does software based 3d rendering using facial tracking to determine where you are, thus where the 3d display needs to position the content.

I could be way off so any input from a 3DS owner would help!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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