Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,484
16,566



The United States Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent filed by Apple last March, which details how inline proximity sensors could be used in tandem with a touchscreen display to detect non-contact hover gestures (via AppleInsider).

The patent, titled "Proximity and multi-touch sensor detection and demodulation", reveals how photodiodes or other proximity hardware work in parallel with traditional multitouch displays to extend user interaction beyond the screen surface.

One embodiment of the patent describes a capacitive sensing element, using a range of proximity sensors and an LCD display, that would let users deploy gestures above a traditional keyboard, resulting in a "virtual keyboard".

Screen-Shot-2016-02-02-at-10.38.19.jpg

With multiple proximity arrays deployed on every touch sensor or pixel of the panel, the system can detect a finger, palm or other object hovering over the display surface. The detected motion is then translated to a GUI by which users can "push" virtual buttons, trigger functions without physical touch, toggle power to devices and more.

Various configurations of the technology are outlined in the patent, including one which describes a MacBook featuring assistive hover-sensing displays that augment typing and trackpad input.

As with any filed patent, the technology is unlikely to appear in any product soon, if at all, especially given that Apple only recently introduced 3D Touch support and is still actively encouraging app developers to make more use of the feature.

Apple has expressed interest in non-contact user interfacing and motion control for some time. In 2013, for example, the company acquired PrimeSense, the firm responsible for the original technology used by Microsoft for its Kinect platform.

Article Link: Apple Patents Hover-Sensing Multi-Touch Display for Macs and iPhones
 

furi0usbee

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2008
1,781
1,264
Wake me when they come up with something better than a mouse/keyboard for "actual" computers. As great as the Apple touchpad is, I still bring my mouse and mousepad everywhere I go. I don't want to touch my screen (try hard NOT to touch it, yucky fingerprints), I don't want to hover, I don't want to get exercise while I'm working at the computer. I just want to get things done. Mouse/keyboard is gonna get things done faster than any other input devices other than a direct line into my brain. All gimmicks in my opinion. Same with VR glasses Apple seems to be working on. I remember back in the 90s VR was going to take the world by storm. Yawns.
 

Zwhaler

macrumors 604
Jun 10, 2006
6,990
1,392
I predicted this years ago on this board and people dismissed me as being high. Let's see if they actually do it.
 

melendezest

Suspended
Jan 28, 2010
1,693
1,579
Wake me when they come up with something better than a mouse/keyboard for "actual" computers. As great as the Apple touchpad is, I still bring my mouse and mousepad everywhere I go. I don't want to touch my screen (try hard NOT to touch it, yucky fingerprints), I don't want to hover, I don't want to get exercise while I'm working at the computer. I just want to get things done. Mouse/keyboard is gonna get things done faster than any other input devices other than a direct line into my brain. All gimmicks in my opinion. Same with VR glasses Apple seems to be working on. I remember back in the 90s VR was going to take the world by storm. Yawns.

This.

I love, and I mean LOVE, Apple's trackpads, but there is just no substitute for a keyboard/mouse combo, particularly when precise control is required.

I've had Samsung phones for years now and the whole "hover" over the device control is exactly that: a gimmick.

And while I find touchscreens appealing in a convertible device, I prefer dedicated machines that are smudge-free.

That said, I'll dismiss it when I see it, as Apple has been able to surprise me in the past. It's perhaps a stepping stone towards 3D holo diplays? We'll see.
 

BreadofWonder

macrumors member
Feb 2, 2016
85
131
WOW...Apple so innovative, Android has to copy that from Apple years ago. I still remember my Moto X react and display notifications when I hoving my hand and Samsung Air gesture...

This is not at all the same thing. The features you just listed use the camera on the front of the phone. Based on the article, it looks like this uses sensors built into the display itself and looks more similar to how a Wacom Cintiq or Surface Pro can detect the pen hovering over the screen. The difference here is it doesn't need a special pen to work and it can possibly detect multiple inputs (fingers) at once.

If you want to give Apple grief for being late to the game with certain features, go for it, but remember that that's not always the case.
 

theelysium

Suspended
Nov 18, 2008
562
360
WOW...Apple so innovative, Android has to copy that from Apple years ago. I still remember my Moto X react and display notifications when I hoving my hand and Samsung Air gesture...

It is not the same, hater.

No one copied Google/Samsung useless feature to wave your hand over an active IR in the ear piece. Clearly, not the same idea. Besides the fact that these types of hover & infrared keyboard products have existed on iOS well before hovering over an active IR on a droid was even made.

On top of that you have no idea how long it has been in Apple's development labs. It could have been a decade now, you clearly don't know enough information to slam it. But, fan boys will be fan boys... go to a Google site.
 

LovingTeddy

Suspended
Oct 12, 2015
1,848
2,152
Canada
This is not at all the same thing. The features you just listed use the camera on the front of the phone. Based on the article, it looks like this uses sensors built into the display itself and looks more similar to how a Wacom Cintiq or Surface Pro can detect the pen hovering over the screen. The difference here is it doesn't need a special pen to work and it can possibly detect multiple inputs (fingers) at once.

If you want to give Apple grief for being late to the game with certain features, go for it, but remember that that's not always the case.
It is not the same, hater.

No one copied Google/Samsung useless feature to wave your hand over an active IR in the ear piece. Clearly, not the same idea. Besides the fact that these types of hover & infrared keyboard products have existed on iOS well before hovering over an active IR on a droid was even made.

On top of that you have no idea how long it has been in Apple's development labs. It could have been a decade now, you clearly don't know enough information to slam it. But, fan boys will be fan boys... go to a Google site.


You guys have no idea how Air View works...

Yep. Apple never copies, only Samsung and Google copy Apple
 

BreadofWonder

macrumors member
Feb 2, 2016
85
131
You guys have no idea how Air View works...

Yep. Apple never copies, only Samsung and Google copy Apple

Well that's embarrassing (that's what I get for not fact checking before I post). I was wrong about the camera being used for all of those features. That being said, I did a little research and it seems Air View doesn't support multi touch. So, if I read the article right and Apple's version allows for multi touch gestures, then it's definitely a step up from the current implementation, especially considering Samsung dropped the feature altogether from the S6. You'd expect that, though, considering it's several years newer.

Also, I never said Apple doesn't copy. They can't be first to everything, after all.
 

Theyouthis

macrumors newbie
Feb 2, 2016
2
0
U.S.A.
This is not at all the same thing. The features you just listed use the camera on the front of the phone. Based on the article, it looks like this uses sensors built into the display itself and looks more similar to how a Wacom Cintiq or Surface Pro can detect the pen hovering over the screen. The difference here is it doesn't need a special pen to work and it can possibly detect multiple inputs (fingers) at once.

If you want to give Apple grief for being late to the game with certain features, go for it, but remember that that's not always the case.
So its more like project soli?
 

ianKent

macrumors member
Feb 3, 2014
72
143
Sometimes when I use my iPhone 6S in certain quick 3-4 touch sequences, my phone "predicts" where I want to touch next and upon moving my fingertip very close to the screen, but not actually touching it, the phone still registers it as a touch. Very helpful, but kind of freaky at first.

Is it possible that some form of this technology is already in our phones and we just don't know it yet?
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.