Apple Is Testing 3D UI With Motion-Sensing Capabilities For iOS Devices

A new patent application (via Patently Apple) published today reveals that Apple is testing a new 3D UI for iOS devices with touch-free, motion sensing capabilities that would allow users to simply wave their hand over an iOS device equipped with motion sensors. The patent suggests that the GUI could appear as a virtual room that could be navigated by changing the orientation of the device. Apple’s patent application also points at a “snap to” feature that would allow users to easily transition between various walls within the virtual room.

Quoting from the source:

The invention covers a 3D display environment for mobile device that uses orientation data from one or more onboard sensors to automatically determine and display a perspective projection of the 3D display environment based on the orientation data without the user physically interacting with (e.g., touching) the display.

For example, the display environment could be displayed when the viewer holds their mobile device with the display directly facing them. In this orientation, the camera view is directly facing the back wall. As the user rotates their mobile device either clockwise or counterclockwise, the camera view is moved towards either side wall… More particularly, as the user rotates their mobile device clockwise (about the X axis of rotation), the camera view moves toward sidewall 112a. 

It is worth noting that according to this patent, Apple’s approach to providing a 3D-user experience differs from the glasses-free 3D displays currently shipping in many consumer electronics including handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS.