Apple exploring motion-controlled 3D GUI for iOS

Jan 12, 2012
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A new Apple patent application has surfaced today at the US Patent and Trademark Office, revealing that the company is exploring 3D user interfaces for its iOS devices that are controlled by motion. Now this isn't the illusion of 3D created by two different images sent to each eye, instead this is the illusion of 3-dimensional space within the screen more similar to this concept.

Discovered by AppleInsider, the patent application called "Sensor Based Display Environment" describes a 3D display environment in which the orientation data from an iOS device's onboard gyroscope and compass sensors are used to navigate the system. The environment is motion-controlled because traditional means of navigating the system through touch or stylus is difficult due to the limited screen size.

For instance, users could navigate an iPhone's 3D interface as if it were looking through an "imaginary camera viewfinder." By moving the iPhone around you can see into the digital world or 3D interface, similar to an augmented reality experience. This virtual room that user looks at could have different objects, perhaps apps, on the walls, floor, and ceiling that can be selected. These walls or sides can be snapped to by a preset action, such as shaking the phone.

This Apple patent application was first filed back in July of 2010 and is credited to Patrick Piedmonte.


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