Feeds

Apple eyes (yet another) multi-touch patent

Give your UI the finger

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Ever since Jeff Han's deservedly famous demo of a multi-touch interface at the TED conference in February of 2006, gestural-display developments have continued to appear, from Apple's mega-successful iPhone to Microsoft's micro-market Surface computer.

In an application filing published today by the US Patent Office and entitled "Display Integrated Photodiode Matrix," Apple updated its own series of gestural-interface patent applications that were jump-started back in 2005 when Apple quietly acquired the pioneering touchscreen company Fingerworks.

The application that surfaced today builds on a slew of gestural-interface filings by Apple, such as the euphoniously named "Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics" of April 11, 2008, for which Steve Himself™ was listed as one of the inventors.

Today's publication, with its focus on proximity sensing, is a refinement to an application filed eons ago in computer years — September 20, 2005, to be exact — entitled "Proximity detector in handheld device," which described a technology for "sensing an object spaced away and in close proximity to the electronic device," and which could sense the difference "between light touch interactions and hard touch interactions." Specifically, today's publication refers to "one or more infrared (IR) proximity sensors [that] can be driven with a specific stimulation frequency and emit IR light from one or more areas, which can in some embodiments correspond to 'pixel' locations." The filing also includes a description of a "proximity sensing organic light emitting diode (OLED) display."

Such proximity sensing, according to Apple's filing, is "desirable because it can enable the computing system to perform certain functions without necessitating actual contact with the touch panel, such as turning the entire touch panel or portions of the touch panel on or off, turning the entire display screen or portions of the display screen on or off, powering down one or more subsystems in the computing system, enabling only certain features, dimming or brightening the display screen, etc." The filing goes on to claim that "the combination of touch panel and proximity (hovering) sensor input devices can enable the computing system to perform additional functions not previously available with only a touch panel."

We'll see. One thing is certain, however: Apple's continuing stream of gestural-interface patent filings — including those that involve physical contact, mere proximity, or both — indicate that the company remains active in its interface-improvement efforts. Someday we may be able to shut down our Macs by merely waving goodbye. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Google has spaffed more cash on lobbying this year than Big Cable
Don't worry, it'll be cheaper when they use drones
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?