Apple Gets Patent for Three Dimensional iPhone with Motion Sensors

By Joseph Mandour on December 19, 2014

iphoneSan Diego – Apple has won a patent for a touch-free mobile device screen that uses a graphical user interface or GUI to orient images based on the viewer’s perspective. The first time consumers were introduced to this technology was with Amazon’s Fire phone. However, Fire phone did not exactly turn out to be a raging success for Amazon.

A reactive 3D display was one of the top features of the Fire phone and has been featured in other Android devices. But so far, consumers have not taken to it because no significant application has been developed for it. Apple first filed its patent application for a sensor-based “display environment” in January 2012. But last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple the patent.

In Apple’s patent, the invention is described as a “three-dimensional (3D) display environment for mobile device” that uses orientation data from onboard sensors to automatically determine and display a perspective projection based on the data with the user physically interacting with the display. In other words, the user does not have to touch the display. For example, gestures made above a display are detected by sensors that are built into the device.

This is not the first time that Apple has been involved on 3D user interface concepts or has used sensors to detect gestures. But recent rumors have suggested that Apple is working on 3D iPhone display technology, perhaps a hint that Apple might be getting closer to actually unveiling such technology. It is still not clear at this point how far along Apple is with its work on such GUI technology and motion-sensing gestures.

These features have not yet appeared on any Apple products, but the company has expressed interest in virtual reality recently. The company is also apparently looking for developers with experience with virtual reality and motion-sensing technology, which means that it is heading in that direction.

Apple has also won the patent to a projection-based 3D mapping technology, which is part of the “intellectual property package” acquired by Apple when it bought Israel-based company PrimeSense. This technology will help Apple develop the ability to use gestures to control devices such as Macs, Apple TV and potentially mobile devices.

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Posted in: Patent Registration