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Tags ‘motion sensing’
Apple has a couple of new patents granted by the USPTO today (via AppleInsider), one of which deals with improving its mobile software for uses particular to how we interact with mobile devices. It describes a way in which a mobile OS could alter how its interface behaves and responds to user input based on whether it detects it’s in motion or not, and could be great for on-the-go iPhone interaction.
The system invented by Apple would use sensors built into the phone to detect when a user is in motion, including the accelerometer and gyroscope. It could distinguish between walking and running, for instance, and even detect the angle at which the screen is being held. Depending on all this information, the system would intelligently modify the graphic user interface of the phone’s software to make it easier to use.
Individual UI elements might be enlarged, along with their touch points, to make them easier to hit, for instance. Or fisheye and other effects that emphasize certain portions of the screen might be applied, too. Whole rows could be dynamically shifted to compensate for a bobbing motion, in some cases, to make it seem like the display is stable even when the device is moving around.
It makes sense to try to adapt devices for easier movement while out and about, since it’s fairly common for people to pull their phones out while they’re on the move. This patent has been around for a long time however (first applied for in 2007) and it seems like it would be immensely challenging to get the different shifts right in order for this to be useful. If it could work perfectly every time, it would be a great boon, but I wouldn’t hold my breath about seeing this make it to shipping products.
Apple’s second new patent is much more likely to become real, and probably fairly soon. It describes a means for editing 3D video on software like Final Cut Pro. FCP X actually doesn’t include 3D video editing, though most of the competitors it faces in the market including Adobe Premiere do. Editing 3D video created using stereoscopic imaging means treating two frames captured by two different cameras simultaneously as separate things, then stitching them back together.
The patent describes how you’d be able to link some aspects that are important between frames, like time-based cuts and trims, while keeping other elements separate, such as color correction or visual tweaks. This makes sense as both cameras might be capturing images with slightly different white balance, hues or other things, but timings should be consistent across both.
It’s actually a very basic patent with antecedents in other competitive software, and makes sense as an update to FCP down the road. A lot of that may depend on the future of the Hollywood blockbuster, however, as studios keep trying to make 3D something in demand, but don’t seem to be generating any great desire for the tech in the end.
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The CamBoard Pico Wants To Take On Leap Motion, Offers Full Depth Gesture Control In A Smaller Package
Gesture control is heating up, with a host of new entries finally following Microsoft’s example with the Kinect, including Leap Motion and MYO. A German company called pmdtechnologies has also been in the space for a few years (they’ve been working on their tech for 10 years, in fact), and their latest reference design, the CamBoard pico, is a 3D depth sensor based on what pmd calls its “time-of-flight” tech to delivery extremely accurate depth measurement forÂ gestureÂ controlÂ of PCs.
The CamBoard pico follows the CamBoard nano, the company’s previous reference design, and improves on pmd’s existing depth sensor by offering more accurate, touch-free gesture control. It works by offering a “3D interaction volume,” made up of a point cloud, which pmd says means it can be more accurate than LeapÂ Motion, which just identifies points for fingertips to help it determine relative spacial distance.
pmd offers its designs for sale to consumer electronics companies and other clients (it creates a lot of car safety and industrial robotics sensors, for instance) to help them build their own gesture sensing devices, which means the tech found in the CamBoard pico reference design could find its way to modules integrated into notebooks, into webcams, or into dedicated motion controllers from to OEM brands.
The gesture control market is definitely picking up steam, and that means some companies like pmd which have been around for a long time but have largely served niche industries will get a chance to move more to the foreground. With something like a new mode of interaction, quality of experience is the key to stickiness, however, so both veteran and rookie players here will sink or swim based on how pleasant or frustrating using their devices proves to be.
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The United States Patent & Trademark Office published an Apple patent application today (via PatentlyApple) detailing new 3D GUI concepts and touch-free, motion sensing gestures that would allow you to simply wave your hand over a device equipped with proximity sensors. This follows a patent application published in July that explores similar 3D gestures and user-interfaces, and another in September detailing 3D display and imaging technology that could lead to Kinect-like gestures on future Apple products.
The image to the right (larger version is below) shows a 3D UI environment consisting of two sidewalls, a back wall, a floor, and a ceiling. As you can see, 2D objects are posted to the back and sidewalls, while 3D objects rest on the floor of the environment. The patent mentions a “snap to” feature that appears to allow objects to move from one surface to another by changing the orientation of the 3D environment. In other words, the user’s perspective of the UI, which PatentlyApple said could be imagined as the “view from an imaginary camera viewfinder,” would change when rotation of the device is detected by its gyro sensor or accelerometer:
For example, the display environment could be displayed when the viewer holds their mobile device with the display directly facing them. In this orientation, the camera view is directly facing the back wall. As the user rotates their mobile device either clockwise or counterclockwise, the camera view is moved towards either side wallâ€¦ More particularly, as the user rotates their mobile device clockwise (about the X axis of rotation), the camera view moves toward sidewall 112a.Â
In one scenario, Apple described gestures “made a distance above a touch sensitive display” detected by proximity sensors built into the device. We can obviously imagine the Kinect-like gestures that Apple touched upon in the previous patents mentioned above. Today’s patent, as usual, could extend to iPhone, iPad, and iPod, as well as any other device with capable GPU.
PatentlyApple noted the technology could rely on “one or more graphics processing units (e.g., NVIDIA GeForce 330M) and a 3D graphics rendering engine” such as OGRE. However, Imagination Technologies recently showed off the new PowerVR Series6 G6400 and G6200 GPUs that could theoretically provide up to 20 times better performance over chips currently being shipped in iPhone and iPad.
The patent’s approach to providing a 3D-user experience differs from the glasses-free 3D displays already shipping in consumer electronics like Nintendo’s 3DS. Although rumors have discussed the possibility of 3D display technology being used in iOS devices, a rumor from BSN that Apple will be including Sharp 3D technology in an iPad 3 is highly unlikely. Current glasses-free 3D technology is largely hindered by lack of content and health concerns.
A full-size image of the 3D environment concept is below.
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