Apple Patents 3D Multi-touch Skins

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Apple apparently has more plans in store for its multi-touch technology, including wrapping it around real world objects. The company has gone so far as to work up a patent describing a multi-touch skin that can be used with physical objects, and it looks like the technology is targeted at gaming and entertainment.

According to Patently Apple, the patent shows objects like tennis rackets and car steering wheels, and TV remote controls. The skins could be used to register multiple touches, monitor the object’s actions, and send commands to other devices.

Apple’s steering wheel example shows multi-touch patches that can control vehicle functions such as music and wiper controls, and let the car monitor the driver’s responses to vehicle notifications. Multi-touch patches on a remote control could lead to gesture-based TV and home entertainment center controls.

The patent also details a portable multi-touch skin that could be used with multiple objects. The portable skin could be used, for example, to help teach students how to play musical instruments such as guitars by monitoring how they play.

Apple most likely has even more ideas in mind for its multi-touch skins, which could mean we’ll eventually see them in iPods and even the MacBook.

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3 Comments

mhikl

Don’t let go the bone, Apple. You’re on a role; but think outside your box. Soon will be the day the magic wand or zap finger won’t be just in fairy tales.

Microsoft and its Kinect offers up potential in magic wand land as the ultimate controller-free remote for TVs and other electronics. The elemental couch potato remote. Might this be M$‘s chance at back to the future.

John Dingler

Hi Mhikl,
I suspect that humans seek a tactile experience where the skin makes physical contact, not with an intermediary such as a pen, and very likely not with a remote gesture, so Apple’s pursuit of tactile technology on devices gets my vote of confidence.

mhikl

Apple?s pursuit of tactile technology on devices gets my vote of confidence.

Agree wholeheartedly, John;

However, predetermining the future (as Apple does so well in planning way ahead) means brainstorming, build & trial, constantly seeing the potential where others (M$, Adobe, Intel) flounder. The IOS and the iPad are good examples. Apple seems to have been working on them long before they made the light of an Apple announcement or a hint of a rumour in the main stream.

We’ve read in the MO I believe, how the iPhone is actually based upon Apple’s work on the iPad?presumably halting pad progress when someone realized that shrinking it and adding the gimmickry of a mobile phone would make a great smart phone?so it suggests that Apple doesn’t just come up with some lucky guesses but is dead-hard earnest in perfecting the human experience with its technology.

So it is important that they continue to perfect the tactile experience but remote gesture is probably already under investigation. If so, what M$ has come up with is an elephant in a tutu and our divo just hasn’t made his entrance yet. grin

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