Apple wins patent on Kinect-like depth mapping technology for 3D gesture interfaces

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Apple has been awarded a patent for a depth-mapping technology for a Kinect-like 3D gesture interface, adding to the intellectual property inherited from its acquisition of Israeli firm PrimeSense in 2013.




Using a combination of cameras and software, the technology would identify major features of the human body, such as the hand, and judge their relative positions in space. An image in the patent depicts a sensor bar sitting on top of computer monitor.

Unlike the Kinect, though, the Apple concept granted by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday is oriented specifically towards identifying hand and finger gestures, rather than whole-body movements. The patent complements another one issued earlier this month which dealt directly with analyzing hand gestures.

The patents and the acquisition of PrimeSense may suggest that Apple is exploring 3D gesture interfaces for Macs, and possibly other products, such as the Apple TV. An overhauled Apple TV is expected to be announced at WWDC 2015 in June.

To date, though, such interfaces have not had much success. The Kinect has been unbundled from Microsoft's latest console, the Xbox One, and third-party controllers such as the TrackIR and the Leap Motion Controller have remained niche products. Apple's native gesture options for Macs currently include the 2D, touch-based Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse, as well as the trackpads on MacBooks.

PrimeSense helped create the technology behind the Kinect -- which originally debuted for the Xbox 360 -- by licensing its designs to Microsoft. Apple's takeover of PrimeSense was confirmed on November 24, 2013, just two days after the Xbox One shipped.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,148member
    Now we will see this technology done right.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    MS rushed kinect to market just to compete with Nintendo.
    Unfortunately Nintendo has not advanced motion control since 2008.
    Maybe Apple can finally get it right.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,976member

    I don't know how Apple will use this in the next coming product, but If it's for the game, I won't see the real value of it. Kinect hasn't been great after the initial buzz due to lack of games.

    BTW, MS Kinect lagging makes it like a joke when playing game and controlling the media. Kinect was really a half baked product because it can only control certain functions for certain apps only, not all. 

  • Reply 4 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,848member
    Just this past week Microsoft demonstrated a very fast and accurate hand sensing and modeling interface which was quite impressive.

    http://m.fastcompany.com/3045347/microsofts-handpose-wants-to-make-gesture-controls-something-you-actually-like

    I'm seeing a lot of simultaneous invention going on between Microsoft and Apple recently. It's entirely possible that elements of their patent sharing arrangement covers this area as well.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    PrimeSense helped create the technology behind the Kinect -- which originally debuted for the Xbox 360 -- by licensing its designs to Microsoft. Apple's takeover of PrimeSense was confirmed on November 24, 2013, just two days after the Xbox One shipped.

     

    The Kinect 360 is PrimeSense. The Xbox One Kinect does not use PrimeSense technology; it's a time of flight camera. Probably why PrimeSense sold out to Apple, they lost their only major customer.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    chabigchabig Posts: 623member

    I hate it when AI headlines read, "Apple wins..." with regard to patents. There isn't a competition. Apple didn't "win" anything. They invented something, files an application for a patent, and the patent was "awarded". It's a big difference.

  • Reply 7 of 9
    GestureKit
  • Reply 8 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,848member
    chabig wrote: »
    I hate it when AI headlines read, "Apple wins..." with regard to patents. There isn't a competition. Apple didn't "win" anything. They invented something, files an application for a patent, and the patent was "awarded". It's a big difference.

    Patents are usually said to have been "granted".
  • Reply 9 of 9
    konqerrorkonqerror Posts: 685member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chabig View Post

     

    I hate it when AI headlines read, "Apple wins..." with regard to patents. There isn't a competition. Apple didn't "win" anything. They invented something, files an application for a patent, and the patent was "awarded". It's a big difference.


     

    You're using the wrong term for "filing an application". The process of getting a patent, including writing, filing, and responding to the Patent Office is called prosecution. So Apple prosecutes a patent. It's a big difference.

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