Patent published on November 23, 2023

Patent Hints at Future iPad Pro Where Touching Air Might Control the Screen

The impressive world of interactive technology is constantly transforming to accommodate and enhance our daily experiences. The recent patent by Apple, bearing number US20230376110A1, is set to revolutionize the way we engage with our devices, solving a notable issue that has long been an obstacle in the domain of digital interface.

Area of concern has been the fact that manipulation of content displayed on a gadget can often be hampered by instances, such as when a physical object obstructs a portion of user's extremity (for instance, your hand or finger). Our hands are the interface, and if blocked, it could lead to a reduction in the reliability of input systems like extremity tracking input, which follows the movement of our hands or fingers. This issue becomes even more pronounced when trying to manipulate a digital object that appears to have considerable depth on the device's screen, often resulting in tracking inaccuracies.

Enter Apple's newly-introduced "Virtual Trackpad in Thin Air" technology. This patent insightfully tackles the above-mentioned problems by introducing an integrated input system within the gadget (like an iPad Pro), such as an extremity tracking input system and/or an eye tracking input system. The invention involves mapping a computer-generated trackpad to a region on the screen - kind of like using a pretend mouse on your device's screen. The iPad would, thus, process manipulations on the virtual trackpad in a specific region of the display, reducing the impact of physical obstruction, unstable hand movements, and deep screen objects on user interactions.

Like vivid steps into tomorrow's future, devices incorporating this patent will notably streamline the lives of both professionals and casual users. Imagine graphic designers being able to fluidly shape and mold their designs with air-gestures, students scrolling through pages of complex data by simply moving fingers over the screen or architects effortlessly rotating 3D models by guiding their fingers in the air. It’s a world where our devices understand us more profoundly, resulting in a seamless union of human and technology.

However, it is important to remember that being a patent, there isn't a certainty of this invention appearing in the market. The trajectory of development remains unknown. But, if implemented, our relationship with our devices is in for a monumental, intriguing shift, redefining what it means to interact with technology.

P.S. The invention, in its core, epitomizes how patents allow us to peer into the potential futures being envisioned by tech giants, continually driving us towards the intersection of the imaginable and the incredulous.

Explore more