Apple Patents 3D Multi-touch Skins

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.