gestures ▪ January 12, 2012

The United States Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple patent application today (via PatentlyApple) detailing new 3D GUI concepts and touch-free, motion sensing gestures that would allow you to simply wave your hand over a device equipped with proximity sensors. This follows a patent application published in July that explores similar 3D gestures and user-interfaces, and another in September detailing 3D display and imaging technology that could lead to Kinect-like gestures on future Apple products.

The image to the right (larger version is below) shows a 3D UI environment consisting of two sidewalls, a back wall, a floor, and a ceiling. As you can see, 2D objects are posted to the back and sidewalls, while 3D objects rest on the floor of the environment. The patent mentions a “snap to” feature that appears to allow objects to move from one surface to another by changing the orientation of the 3D environment. In other words, the user’s perspective of the UI, which PatentlyApple said could be imagined as the “view from an imaginary camera viewfinder,” would change when rotation of the device is detected by its gyro sensor or accelerometer:

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gestures ▪ August 11, 2011

Pinch? Swipe? How about “dig a hole” or “open the window”? Another round of Apple Inc filed patents have been published today by the US Patent & Trademark Office. The most interesting of the latest patents (via Patently Apple) is one focused on “advancing iOS metaphors to a higher level”. What does this mean exactly?

Essentially it would see iOS including a number of new interactive UI elements, many of which will replicate the experience of being able to “manipulate and organize various graphical objects”, similar to the desktop-like environment of “conventional personal computers” (OS X). In other words, Apple wants you to have more control over what you can do with elements within iOS, presumably to close the gap between what’s possible on OS X compared to current iOS builds… which also highly supports theories of iOS and OS X becoming one in the future.

Perhaps the most clear example of how these new UI elements might appear to the end user comes from the “Example Interactions Digging a Hole in a Device User Interface” section of the patent…

From Patently Apple:

Apple is always looking for new ways to distinguish iOS from the pack and today Apple introduces us to a number of new GUI gestures and metaphors that are fun and Kooky – if not creatively insane. The first one describes the notion of “digging a hole” in your interface that will allow you to drop a file into it quickly or act as a garbage bin or other uses.

Apple also described a number of other interactions similar to “digging a hole” including opening a trap door or window via gestures.
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