Apple was recently awarded a patent for something that looks and feels a lot like Xbox’s Kinect. The 3D display and imaging technology is a system that Apple may place inside future devices.
The technology registers the moves of the user and then translates those motions into a control scheme for a game or an app.
Apple’s motion control patent describes a projector and a receiver that utilize light beams to scan and recognize users’ movements. The Xbox Kinect also uses light beams to map out the space and user to establish a play field for Kinect games. And like the Kinect, the only input the Apple device requires is your body.
According to the patent, Apple’s technology also can be used to display holographic images. Three-dimensional holographic images are the holy grail of digital immersion. The uses for holographic technology could include gaming (such as flight sims or virtual reality applications) – like projecting a 3D model of a skeleton for a surgeon or a car for an engineer.
Apple’s technology truly exceeds what Microsoft is doing with the Kinect and promises amazing experiences for whatever platform it may be used in. Imagine playing video games…Say a round of Angry Birds where you could reach into the game screen, pull out a bird and then throw it, like you might a real baseball at a target. The potential for the technology is mind-boggling.
Apple hasn’t made any announcements about the new technology or how it may be used. Apple files patents frequently and, for the most part, they are granted. One reason Apple pushes so hard on technology patents is because of Steve Jobs. Jobs made it Apple’s mission to constantly innovate. The motion control patent Apple recently received certainly does that. It will be extremely interesting to see how the technology might be used in app development. For now, we’ll just have to keep watching Minority Report and dreaming of the possibilities.
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