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Apple patents projector technology and “Shared Projected Workspace” concept for MacBooks and iOS devices

There certainly isn’t a shortage of Apple patents being published today (probably more fuel for a legal battle a year from now). We just told you about a new Map related (Placebase acquisition) patent, and now Patently Apple reports Apple has been granted a patent that will allow them to integrate tiny projectors into future mobile devices.

This latest patent describes, in rather clear detail, exactly how Apple could integrate projectors into iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. It even suggests Apple cameras will be able to detect gestures and “shadows and/or silhouettes” (Kinect-style iOS games anyone?).

The patent also describes what Apple calls a “shared projected workspace”. This appears to essentially be the ability for users to share content with one another over two projected displays. For example, if I were to project an image from one iOS device, and you from another, we could then share content (via gestures?) between both displays. The patent explains:

The shared workspace may include two or more projected displays, each generated by a separate electronic device. Images may be transferred between the projected displays within the shared workspace. For example, the electronic devices may communicate with each other over a communication link that allows data for images to be transferred between the electronic devices for display on different projected displays within the shared workspace.

This isn’t the first time Apple has flirted with projector concepts in patents. In April we told you about a patent detailing an Apple-branded TV with “hybrid laser” projection technology. We also reported a published Apple patent describing an internal pico projection system for MacBooks in April, 2010.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.