Feeds

Apple eyes (yet another) multi-touch patent

Give your UI the finger

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.