Apple has recently been on the cutting edge of technology. With the generally well-received Face ID technology, they’ve innovated with the iPhone X and provided something new to a smartphone market saturated by largely similar phones. The unique features don’t stop there, however, as the company has just filed a patent for technology that will allow users to use hand gestures to control a Mac.
The inventors behind this cutting edge tech appear to be PrimeSense, the developers of the unique Kinect camera used by Microsoft in their Xbox consoles. Apple acquired the company back in 2013 and have used some of their technology while developing Face ID, and it seems as if they’re finally capitalizing on the convenience of using hand gestures to control a Mac.
The patent includes some detailed information, specifically outlining the idea of a “focus” gesture to activate general gesture recognition:
“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.”
After this focus gesture is engaged, the user can then control their Mac using hand gestures. Pictures from the patent seem to indicate these could include waving, pushing, and lifting a hand.
This patent is the latest in several recent filings by Apple, including one for the usage of Face ID on a Mac. As with any patent, there’s no telling when — or even if — this technology will be adopted. Regardless, it’s clear from the patent filing that the tech is there and ready to be used.
It remains to be seen whether this potential feature will be an integral feature or a weird quirk. It’s difficult to tell what exactly using hand gestures to control a Mac would be used for. Most people are sitting at a desk when they’re using a computer, so the hands-free controls seem somewhat unnecessary. It’s up to Apple to show us if these hand gestures can truly be a seamless part of the operating system.