An Apple patent filing published today by the US Patent & Trademark Office indicates that the company is developing a new depth perception system which, when integrated into an iPad, would be able to project a laser based keyboard onto a table, reports PatentlyApple.
According to the filing, the patent relates to a system for determining a distance to an object that includes an image capturing device, such as a lens and an image sensor, as well as a laser source. The patent also details the use of such a system on future Macs and iOS devices. They system may include a processor and a camera which may be in communication with the processor.
In Apple’s patent FIG. 11A, we see the depth perception system incorporated into a mobile electronic device such as an iPad. In this example, the system may be used in combination with a projected control panel 115 (such as a keyboard, audio/video controls, and so on). The control panel 115 may be a light pattern projected from a light source onto a surface (e.g., table or desk), the control panel 115 may include different light shapes, colors, or the like for representing different inputs.
It is quite likely that the system would also apply to the iPhone and iPod touch in addition to the iPad, which means that there would be some kind of a smart cover or a kickstand so that the projected keyboard could function properly onto a surface.