Apple patent application reveals in-air hand gesturing controls for wide variety of devices

“On February 27, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a number of interesting possible future features for Macs, televisions or even a car dashboard,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“With the addition of new sensors hidden in Macs, users will be able to control some device functionality with in-air hand gesturing,” Purcher reports. “Apple’s new invention could also provide users with superior lighting for FaceTime videoconferencing and more.”

“Apple notes that the MacBook Pro display lid may include a hidden display that may be connected to a proximity sensor which could be automatically activated in response to sensing of the presence of an object such as a human hand,” Purcher reports. “According to Apple, the invention has been described in the context of ‘electronic devices,’ which is used to identify any of a wide variety of electrically powered devices, including without limitation: communication devices such as cell phones or land line phones; music and multimedia players; gaming devices; televisions; set top boxes, such as for televisions and other display systems; controllers, such as remote controls for operating other devices and gaming controllers; Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs); and computing devices of all forms (desktops, laptops, servers, tablets, palmtops, workstations, etc.) as well as associated components such as monitors (either separate or as part of an all-in-one systems), external drives, etc.; and many other types of devices in a variety of fields.”

Much more, including Apple’s patent application illustrations and diagrams, in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. in-air hand gesturing….
    is NOT the way to go.
    A company called Eyetech (think that’s the name), showed at CES 2012-13, controlling the computer with your eye instead of using a mouse.
    I used a system like that in the 80’s, and that’s BETTER than voice recognition, or in-air hand gesturing.
    Apple should use eye tracking instead.
    But I guess you could use…
    Voice recognition, or
    In-air hand gesturing, or
    eye tracking.
    Just think eye tracking is the BEST way. WTF are we doing still using a mouse ?
    We’ve been using that since 1985, or so. isn’t it overdue to be GONE ?
    Btw the TRS-80 had voice recognition in 1979.
    It used a device called voxbox, and I used a Radio Shack Color Computer, in the 80’s to do eye tracking.

    1. We’re still using the mouse because its most efficient and almost always dose what is expected. Voice control has issues. Touch screen interfaces have issues (I don’t know how many times have I accidentally tapped the wrong link, icon etc..). I can see eye tracking (no pun intended) having issues, but sounds like it could be cool too 🙂

    2. There are a few gesture applications for Mac. Go to MacUpdate and search for ‘gesture’. There are a few in the resulting list.

      My impression is that we’re at a point of perfecting and elaborating on gesture technology. I suspect it will be joined with voice control eventually. Voice and gesture control are also both useful for folks with disabilities related to one or the other.

      Of course, this patent isn’t just about gestures. Read the first few paragraphs of the source article to understand the other tech involved.

    3. There was a TV that used voice commands in 1946 but that doesn’t mean it worked in amy way that would be usable or practical to the consumer generally. I may be proved wrong but I really can’t see (no pun intended) that using the eye to control your computer is going to be superior to a mouse for normal use. I am happy to look at any evidence to the contrary.

  2. Off the top of my head, I’m not sure how broad this patent portfolio can be considering in-air gesture systems already in production and sold by Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, etc. for their wearable computer devices, mobile devices, tvs and game consoles.

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