Apple investigating flick, pour to send 'physics metaphor' gestures for iOS

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A recently uncovered Apple patent filing shows the company has looked into using more advanced "physics metaphors" in a mulitouch environment to replace the traditional virtual desktop.



Apple's filing, which was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, centers around using "intuitive, physical gestures" that resemble real world physical actions to communicate between devices, send files and broadcast to a network.



The invention sets out to solve an interface issue with modern applications for smartphones and tablets. According to the filing, some modern smartphone applications have discarded the desktop metaphor without finding substitute real world physical actions that provide the same level of intuitive controls. T application specifically addresses at length the issue of file storage and transfer.



Apple has been reluctant to add a fully developed method for easily storing and transferring files between iOS devices. Though some third-party applications have attempted to solve the issue, iOS lacks system-wide processes for sharing files.



Although, iOS 5's tight integration with the iCloud service could make progress when it arrives this fall. Apple plans to provide iCloud storage APIs that will allow applications to sync documents across devices.



Particular embodiments of the invention include physical metaphors such as pouring objects from one container to another, flicking files onto another device and sand flowing through an hour glass. Audible feedback, such as "the sound of liquid pouring, a tablet fizzing, gas through a valve, a sci-fi teleporter, or other sound that audibly represent the transfer of a material from one point to another" could enhance the metaphor.



The gestures in question could be configured to activate wireless communication protocols, including BlueTooth and Radio Frequency Identification, that would enable devices to interact.



In addition to multi-touch, the gestures rely heavily on motion sensors such as accelerometers gyroscopes and magnetometers. One example of the invention involves holding a mobile device over a tablet as file icons "pour" from one to the other. Apple describes the use of "gravity , friction or drag, momentums, torques, accelerations, centripetal forces or any other force found in a real-world physical environment" as cues to make the interface more intuitive.



Another example depicts a directional flick that would send drawn objects from a tablet to a smaller device. The angle of the flick would determine which device to send it to, in the case of multiple nearby devices.



Elements of the invention bear some resemblance to the AirDrop feature that Apple has built into Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. AirDrop is a drag and drop "ad hoc" networking feature that combines aspects of various networking protocols to simplify file transfers for users.



Apple filed the application on Jan. 5, 2010, just weeks before the unveiling of the original iPad. The invention is credited to Brett Bilbrey, Nicholas King and Todd Benjamin.



Last month, Apple was awarded a vital multitouch patent that was viewed as a "huge blow" to its rivals. Patent experts suggested the iPhone maker could use the patent to "bully" its competitors.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,618member
    Simply brilliant...



    Who knows? some derivative aspect of this could appear in could appear in iOS 5.



    Time will tell.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    t2aft2af Posts: 44member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    iPhone maker could use the patent to "bully" its competitors.



    or protecting IP is another way to look at it.
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Accelerometer and proximity sensor controls could be programmed to enable a squeezing motion on a small mobile device to simulate the well-known "toothpaste tube" action.



    Steve Ballmer will claim prior art on that one with the Zune, no doubt.
  • Reply 4 of 25
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Haha! I like the idea of pouring a file from one iDevice to another. But how would the first iDevice know it is above another iDevice when the pour is initiated, and not above thin air? Perhaps it does an IP broadcast at that moment and everyone nearby sends their location, sort of like a location version of ARP.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    Reminds me of the Microsoft Surface...



    http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/default.aspx



  • Reply 6 of 25
    jupiteronejupiterone Posts: 1,564member
    Mover was one of the first apps I got on my iPhone. It uses the "flick" motion to fling a file from one iPhone to another. I've only used it a few times but it was really cool.
  • Reply 7 of 25
    aestivalaestival Posts: 68member
    Great, at this rate they'll turn iOS devices into ersatz theremins in no time. It's already a bit too easy to interact unintentionally with the touch interface; I don't really want a device where I have to worry about every movement and gesture.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Meanwhile, Microsoft investigates bash, pound and stomp in addition to the traditional curse, fume and reboot methods of interacting with their products.



    Secret documents also reveal that Apple is using the data captured from the various sensors to determine when failures are likely caused by rough handling to deny warranty claims. Competitors denounce Apple for such tactics while secretly working on their own methods of doing exactly the same thing after the public outrage dies down.



  • Reply 9 of 25
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aestival View Post


    Great, at this rate they'll turn iOS devices into ersatz theremins in no time. It's already a bit too easy to interact unintentionally with the touch interface; I don't really want a device where I have to worry about every movement and gesture.



    The AMA files a class action lawsuit against Apple on behalf of patients with various muscular or nervous disorders such as Parkinson's and Tourette Syndrome claiming that the input methods used on iOS devices is discriminatory.



    In other news... the American Society for the Blind sues the US Department of Transportation for lack of Braille on roadsigns.



  • Reply 10 of 25
    bartfatbartfat Posts: 432member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aestival View Post


    Great, at this rate they'll turn iOS devices into ersatz theremins in no time. It's already a bit too easy to interact unintentionally with the touch interface; I don't really want a device where I have to worry about every movement and gesture.



    I imagine it'll only be activated if you're inside a particular app to send the files. Much like how you have to navigate to use AirDrop in the Finder. Only "on" if you need it.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by t2af View Post


    or protecting IP is another way to look at it.





    I suppose those people never had any experience with bullying at school otherwise they would know the difference between bullying and defending.



    Eh?







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Haha! I like the idea of pouring a file from one iDevice to another. But how would the first iDevice know it is above another iDevice when the pour is initiated, and not above thin air? Perhaps ...



    As the filing have mentioned, the angle of the sending device would determine that. I mean in real physics as they trying to emulate, the law of gravity would 'prevail'.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Audible feedback, such as "the sound of liquid pouring, a tablet fizzing, gas through a valve, a sci-fi teleporter, or other sound that audibly represent the transfer of a material from one point to another" could enhance the metaphor.



    Gives whole new meaning to "fart apps."
  • Reply 13 of 25
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    Man, they must have a platoon of geeks working inside a dark, deep dungeon.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    ilogicilogic Posts: 298member
    I just have to ask, what are they smoking in Cupertino?
  • Reply 15 of 25
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,352member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aestival View Post


    I don't really want a device where I have to worry about every movement and gesture.



    Steering an SUV in traffic has similar worries
  • Reply 16 of 25
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ilogic View Post


    I just have to ask, what are they smoking in Cupertino?



    It's medicinal...
  • Reply 17 of 25
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • Reply 18 of 25
    Apple should license "Bump". The physical interaction is very intuitive.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,302member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post


    Apple should license "Bump". The physical interaction is very intuitive.



    Except for the cracking of iPhone glass due to overly enthusiastic bumps.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Haha! I like the idea of pouring a file from one iDevice to another. But how would the first iDevice know it is above another iDevice when the pour is initiated, and not above thin air? Perhaps it does an IP broadcast at that moment and everyone nearby sends their location, sort of like a location version of ARP.



    Relatively simple spacial geometry, I think. Each iOS device would have its own <X,Y,Z> coordinate system, and maybe someone can help me out here?does each device also know which way is "up" (based on actual gravity)? If iOS devices are gravity-aware, and not "floating in space", then "pouring" files from one device to another will be even easier.
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