Apple granted patent covering motion-based 'remote wand' controllers for Apple TV

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued an invention for a new kind of Apple TV remote control, giving viewers the ability to gesture with a "remote wand" in order to navigate around the user interface, in what could be the latest evidence Apple is looking to substantially alter the user experience of its set-top streamer.




The patent discovered by AppleInsider, titled "Scrolling Displayed Objects Using a 3D Remote Controller in a Media System," describes a system consisting of a screen, an electronic device connected to the screen, and a remote wand. It could also be expanded to include a "host device" from which content would be streamed before being relayed to the television, a setup that corresponds to the use of an Apple TV with iTunes Home Sharing.

Apple argues that the current method of controlling such an arrangement, including physical buttons or touchscreen interfaces -- like the Apple Remote app --?"may be effective," but "they may also be inefficient and non-intuitive, which may sometimes lead to frustration."

The company's solution is to provide a gesture-based control scheme. Apple has been seen exploring such a system since at least 2009 --?this newly-granted patent was filed in 2007?-- though the most recent effort contemplates a "smarter" wand device.




In this embodiment, the wand could contain a number of sensors and even a touchscreen that would allow for textual input, rather than being a simpler Wiimote-style part. This would seem to describe an iPhone or iPod touch, though Apple's $345 million acquisition of Kinect sensor maker PrimeSense could mean that future versions might simply use hand gestures.

Various functions could be controlled in this manner, such as selecting videos and scrubbing through media files. One interesting addition involves the ability to interact with a screen saver without exiting screen saver mode --?much like the OS X "iTunes Artwork" screen saver that allows users to play an album by clicking on its cover without disabling the screen saver.

Apple credits Duncan R. Kerr of San Francisco, CA and Nicholas V. King of San Jose, CA as the inventors of U.S. Patent No. 8,881,049.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    Here is a related patent granted in June of this year
    http://patents.justia.com/patent/8760400
  • Reply 2 of 25

    let's start w/ an app store, please.

     

    nice bob dylan pic.

  • Reply 3 of 25
    Cue the Harry Potter comments...
  • Reply 4 of 25
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NolaMacGuy View Post

     

    let's start w/ an app store, please.

     

    nice bob dylan pic.




    with an app store and more reliable mirroring esp from iOS devices. How about starting with the ability to mirror slow mo video

  • Reply 5 of 25
    Sounds like my LG TV remote....an upgrade to previous remotes, but not all that great.
  • Reply 6 of 25
    tjwaltjwal Posts: 404member
    i think Nintendo might have a concern with this. They are already doing this on the wii.
  • Reply 7 of 25

    With the continuing addition of channels, I'd like to see some kind of better organization system. Using one of the icons at the very top as a menu to organize by subject or favorites as I wish and then set one as the default screen would be more than useful.

  • Reply 8 of 25
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,981member
    Apparently the patent office never heard of the Nintendo Wii Wiimote... And I assume all the other similar devices and patents that duplicate each other. Just like software patents.

    This patent thing has eclipsed ridiculousness. It's gotta stop.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,274member
    tjwal wrote: »
    i think Nintendo might have a concern with this. They are already doing this on the wii.
    They should buy Nintendo then ;) including their no latency streaming solution.

    Apple's hunt for the perfect living-room/ big screen/ media/ social/ controller/ home hub/ solution thing... will never stop. It's a bag of hurt. No matter what they'll do, others will say they can do more. They better do it insanely well.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    palegolas wrote: »
    tjwal wrote: »
    i think Nintendo might have a concern with this. They are already doing this on the wii.
    They should buy Nintendo then ;) including their no latency streaming solution.

    Apple's hunt for the perfect living-room/ big screen/ media/ social/ controller/ home hub/ solution thing... will never stop. It's a bag of hurt. No matter what they'll do, others will say they can do more. They better do it insanely well.

    Just wait ...

    Tim Cook said that he controls his Apple TV with his Apple Watch ...

    I suspect that it includes an early version of gesture-recognition as well as in-context selection from the Apple Watch display.

    Since the Apple Watch has WiFi as well as BLE it could be an ideal TV Remote!

    Consider, that the Apple TV runs iOS 8 just like the iPhone 6 -- so it could provide similar services to the Apple Watch and vise versa.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post



    Apparently the patent office never heard of the Nintendo Wii Wiimote... And I assume all the other similar devices and patents that duplicate each other. Just like software patents.



    This patent thing has eclipsed ridiculousness. It's gotta stop.

    Apparently, you don't understand much about patent law.  Just because someone has invented a mouse trap doesn't mean that you can't invent and patent a new way to catch mice.  Obviously Apple and Patent Office believe that what Apple has invented differs in meaningful ways from the Wiimote.  For example, someone had a patent on using a ball and two rollers to serve as a computer mouse; there have been numerous improvements and advancements on that original idea.  I'm sure if you only read the title of these patents they would seem like inappropriate duplicates too.

     

    I fully expect that if Apple does make a "wand" to control an Apple TV, they would have to license a number of patents from Nintendo (and others) to do so.

  • Reply 12 of 25
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



     



     

    Jony is (again) taking this "flat" design aethetic way too far.  And that thing is too boxy to be reasonably called a wand.  \s

  • Reply 13 of 25
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    Magic wand?
    Meka-Leki-Hi-Meka-Hiney-Ho?
  • Reply 14 of 25
    pazuzupazuzu Posts: 1,728member
    nolamacguy wrote: »
    let's start w/ an app store, please.

    nice bob dylan pic.

    And faster processor and Wifi ac and more memory. How difficult can that be? Is that too much to ask for- after almost 3 years?
  • Reply 15 of 25
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by dysamoria View Post



    Apparently the patent office never heard of the Nintendo Wii Wiimote... And I assume all the other similar devices and patents that duplicate each other. Just like software patents.



    This patent thing has eclipsed ridiculousness. It's gotta stop.

     

    er, no. a hardware patent is based on implementation -- even if the idea is the same "control device wirelessly" if you implement it differently its a different invention, and open to patent protection.

     

    software patents are stupid because software is text, and text is protected via copyright. so instead what software companies do is get a business process patent on their software, which prevents alternative implementations (like Amazon owning "one-click shopping" and preventing others from implementing their own versions). dumb.

  • Reply 16 of 25
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pazuzu View Post



    And faster processor and Wifi ac and more memory. How difficult can that be? Is that too much to ask for- after almost 3 years?

     

    ive never found myself kicking dirt about my ATV's storage. why have you?

     

    faster/better wifi is always nice, but havent had problems yet. i dont think .ac was out or common when the current ATV was released.

  • Reply 17 of 25

    I think there needs to be an AppleTV.app for the iPad that mirrors the AppleTV interface and allows you to directly interact with it.

  • Reply 18 of 25
    I think there needs to be an AppleTV.app for the iPad that mirrors the AppleTV interface and allows you to directly interact with it.

    Like entering text on the AppleTV remote? Shirley, they can do better than that!
  • Reply 19 of 25
    pfisherpfisher Posts: 758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post

     

    Jony is (again) taking this "flat" design aethetic way too far.  And that thing is too boxy to be reasonably called a wand.  \s




    But it's now two-dimensional, so super-thin.

  • Reply 20 of 25
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,274member
    pfisher wrote: »

    But it's now two-dimensional, so super-thin.
    Ha ha.. it's like a paper mario puzzle every time you need to find it.
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