Apple granted patent for multitouch-enabled virtual CAD tools

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued Apple a patent for an app and GUI pertaining to multitouch virtual drafting tools, like rulers and protractors, which can be applied to portable devices like the iPad.

Virtual Tool
Source: USPTO


Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,487,889 for "Virtual drafting tools" details an intuitive computer-aided design and drafting user interface, with on-screen tools that can be manipulated via a multitouch display,

The patent notes current CAD programs and other drafting applications, whether operating in two- or three-dimensions, require users to manipulate non-intuitive tools across a virtual workspace. For example, drawing a straight line may call for the user to move the cursor away from the drafting area to a side menu or menu bar, select a tool for creating straight lines, then returning to the workspace to specify start and stop points for the line. These actions can be replicated, Apple says, by implementing a multitouch display like those found in the company's iPad tablet lineup.

In one embodiment, the patent calls for a first touch input, which can include two separate touch events from at least two different locations on a screen. As seen above, the app can determine the number and position of touch events, or finger placement, to present a virtual tool like a ruler.

The invoked tool can persist on screen for a limited time, or until it dismissed by the user. When the tool is active, the user can resize, scale, or make other adjustments with full gesture support.

Virtual Tool
Illustration of protractor tool and multitouch input.


A second touch input involves the interaction with the virtual tool. For example, a ruler can be invoked with the first touch input, while the second input creates a corresponding line or other graphic. In some cases, the lines or shapes can have a "snap to" function to automatically size or scale the object.

The patent points out that the virtual tools can resemble traditional drafting equipment, such as a ruler, t-square, protractor, compass, and various stencils. Other embodiments allow for custom tools to be configured, with specific parameters being editable by the user.

Multiple tools are also supported, meaning users can invoke a ruler, protractor and t-square, interacting with each simultaneously. The patent goes through a number of examples, outlining possible use scenarios. For example, a virtual compass can be rotated using gestures to control output.

Virtual Tool
Illustration of virtual compass tool with gesture support.


Finally, the property allows for tool customization, including metric tic marks, while line thickness and other graphical assets are also editable.

Apple's virtual tool patent was first filed for in 2010 and credits Nicholas V. King as its inventor.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    NeXT stop 3D
  • Reply 2 of 14
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member


    I dont understand why Application Menu and Application Dock are there on the tab!  

  • Reply 3 of 14
    phone-ui-guyphone-ui-guy Posts: 1,018member
    chandra69 wrote: »
    I dont understand why Application Menu and Application Dock are there on the tab!  

    Or why they are on the bezel. Just look at that search icon in the top right. Hacked together patent illustrations are the norm. They attorneys typically draw them where I work.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,147member
    One day Apple will hopefully release a massive flat screen cross breed iMac (Mac Pro?) /iPad that lays back at a shallow angle. It will run a full touch interface and yet be able to run the full OS X of the day. CAD and Video Editing are both examples where such a device would be mind blowing.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    Apple makes a CAD program for iOS? If not, why would they file for such a patent?
  • Reply 6 of 14
    jax44jax44 Posts: 78member
    This will be awesome!. I could use this everyday.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,458member


    CAD users already use the Space Pilot for modeling and it can do things that a pure touch interface will not be able to do.

     

  • Reply 8 of 14
    pinolopinolo Posts: 91member
    Reminds me of Adobe's presentation of their version. Having the small "napoleon" ruler and using it seemed more intuitive than this version which doesn't require (as far as I understood) any physical objects. But, all in all, the two concepts look really similar.


    http://www.engadget.com/2013/06/04/adobe-xd-shows-project-mighty-napoleon-hands-on/
  • Reply 9 of 14
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    droidftw wrote: »
    Apple makes a CAD program for iOS? If not, why would they file for such a patent?

    Apple files patents for a lot of stuff they never make. This will be either licensed to other folks, an IAP to help folks make helper apps or both.
  • Reply 10 of 14
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    pinolo wrote: »
    Reminds me of Adobe's presentation of their version. Having the small "napoleon" ruler and using it seemed more intuitive than this version which doesn't require (as far as I understood) any physical objects. But, all in all, the two concepts look really similar.


    http://www.engadget.com/2013/06/04/adobe-xd-shows-project-mighty-napoleon-hands-on/

    They are. But apple is trying to find a way to not need an object, because then if you lose it you are toast. Same thinking as when Steve launched the iPhone with no stylus. Back in that day most phones had one and you couldn't run it without that little thing. Many folks took his comments as being anti stylus but it was really anti REQUIRED stylus.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    ankleskaterankleskater Posts: 1,287member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by icoco3 View Post


    CAD users already use the Space Pilot for modeling and it can do things that a pure touch interface will not be able to do.

     



    And a touch interface can enable many functions that a Space Pilot cannot.

  • Reply 12 of 14
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,458member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


    And a touch interface can enable many functions that a Space Pilot cannot.



     


    And we need 2 more arms...

  • Reply 13 of 14
    charlituna wrote: »
    Apple files patents for a lot of stuff they never make. This will be either licensed to other folks, an IAP to help folks make helper apps or both.

    Wouldn't that make them a patent troll? Patent things to make money off?
  • Reply 14 of 14
    traysertrayser Posts: 7member
    Tactilis app for iPad has had similar virtual ruler and compass, although the tools in Tactilis are used to create non-vector/non-cad casual sketches and diagrams. (just like drawing on paper).

    http://www.tactilisapp.com
Sign In or Register to comment.