Apple has just obtained a patent that could let users “generate and manipulate 3D objects using 3D gesture inputs.” Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8514221 is titled Working with 3D objects and mainly revolves around users having the ability to “pull” or “lift” 2D objects out of surfaces such as the iPad’s screen for example.
There’s also talk of an application that lets you enable “sculpting” mode. This describes how you can manipulate 3D objects as if they were made out of clay. Using finger gestures you can “squeeze” or “stretch” these objects and even break or cut of a piece of your mesh creation. Imagine 3D Fruit Ninja - watermelons popping out of your iPad screen for you to slice and dice.
Apple Insider notes that this input method can be programmed to detect any number of 3D gestures. For example, “a pyramid can be generated from a 2D triangle touching the screen with three fingers and pulling away from the surface while pinching.” This is illustrated in the pictures below. These objects can then be rotated around the z-axis with a twisting motion. It’s like having Leap integrated with your iPad.
You can imagine Apple incorporating technologies like those found in the Leap 3D Motion controller to recognize and capture users’ gestures using the front camera. Creating the visuals would be a different story all together.
We can only guess that the 3D rendering would be presented using augmented reality glasses such as Google Glass (or um, iGlass). The patent also actually mentions using 3D or stereoscopic glasses to increase user engagement.
The Leap is a great devicey and something that’s knocking on next-gen UI’s door, but apart from the learning curve, one of its drawbacks is the lack of apps available. iOS, on the other hand, would be a good ecosystem to implement gesture technology within.
Images via Apple Insider