The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially announced a series of new patents today, including a patent from Apple Inc. for using hand gestures to control a Mac. The inventors are named Micha Galor, Jonathan Pokrass. and Amir Hoffnung, all from PrimeSense, the startup that developed Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, and which Apple acquired back in 2013.


PrimeSense was also involved in developing some of the technology behind Face ID, so the patent here appears to rely on a similar TrueDepth camera in a Mac. The patent specifically addresses the issue of how gesture mode might be activated, describing the use of a ‘focus’ gesture.

The new Apple patent covers inventions related to the computer system's user interface, especially the 3D-based user interface. More specifically, this patent relates to a method of executing a non-tactile 3D user interface through a computer, with a set of gestures containing multiple 3D coordinates.

A method, including receiving, by a computer executing a non-tactile three dimensional (3D) user interface, a set of multiple 3D coordinates representing a gesture by a hand positioned within a field of view of a sensing device coupled to the computer, the gesture including a first motion in a first direction along a selected axis in space, followed by a second motion in a second direction, opposite to the first direction, along the selected axis. Upon detecting completion of the gesture, the non-tactile 3D user interface is transitioned from a first state to a second state.

This patent describes converting a non-haptic 3D user interface from a locked state to an unlocked state using one gesture, which includes ascending movement on a vertical axis of space. Once in use, users will be able to control Macs with additional gestures. The gesture shown in the drawing is pushing, waving and lifting a hand.


As with any patents, the technology in question might not make it to an product in near future, if at all, but it is an interesting glimpse into what Apple might be planning to do with PrimeSense's technology down the line.

Via 9to5Mac, Patently Apple, And MacRumors, Image Via USPTO

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