Apple applies for patent on 'Interactive Three-Dimensional Display System'

Apple applies for patent on 'Interactive Three-Dimensional Display System'
Credit: USPTO
( —Apple Inc. has applied for a patent on an interactive hologram device. In its application, the maker of iPhones, iPads and other devices, describes a new device that could project a holographic 3D image into a small space—the image projected could then be manipulated using human hands, responding to swipes, squeezing, etc.

Apple has not made any announcements regarding the interactive display system, but the patent filing makes clear that the company is serious about funding research into holographic display devices. The proposed device described in the application would use already existing technology in new ways. The listed inventors, Christoph Krah and Marduke Yousefpor propose a three part design: a 3D display system, an optical based system that translates 2D images to 3D, and sensors to read hand movements. All of the components would of course connect to a central control mechanism that together would create the illusion of a three dimensional object hovering over a base, that responds to human manipulation.

One item of note, the image that is projected is created digitally—it's not simply the reflection of a real object as has been done with other similar systems. It would be created using lasers sent into a medium such as a crystal so that it could be seen by the human eye. Non-linear imagery would be situated between two parabolic mirrors with the main image reflected off the upper mirror towards the lower mirror—the final images would eventually pass out through a hole. Lasers would also be used to follow hand movements, allowing for precise gesture control. All of the data would be controlled by a central system, which is not described in the application. The result would be what the Apple team describes as "hologram-like illusions."

The application has only recently come to light, though the submission date indicates it was originally filed in October of 2012. Whether Apple has been pursuing the project is unknown, though it appears likely as Microsoft, Amazon and other competitors have made clear their intentions to build a similar device. If all goes well, consumers might wind up with such devices on smartphones or tablet computers in the not too distant future, making interactions with such devices far more immersive.

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More information: Patent: Interactive Three-Dimensional Display System

An interactive display system may be provided that allows a user to interact with three-dimensional projected images that have been formed in mid-air. Display structures may be used to display a primary image. The display structures may include structures for creating a three-dimensional image such as a laser projection system that creates a three-dimensional image in a non-linear crystal or a three-dimensional display based on a rotating two-dimensional display or other three-dimensional display equipment. An optical system based on parabolic mirrors or lenses may be used to project the three-dimensional image that has been formed on the display structures into mid-air. A user may interact with the projected image. Sensors may use trilateration techniques to monitor the user's interactions. The projected image may be updated based on the user's interactions, thereby allowing the user to control and manipulate the projected image in mid-air.

via Appleinsider

© 2014

Citation: Apple applies for patent on 'Interactive Three-Dimensional Display System' (2014, April 25) retrieved 23 March 2019 from
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User comments

Apr 25, 2014
Two years ago, IBM predicted this would happen within the next 5 years, so that's now down to 3 years.

Apr 25, 2014
What I see is them adding projectors and cameras to someone else's novelty item design that has been on the market for years. I wonder if they bought the company that makes those items.

Apr 28, 2014
The question for me is: How do we provide tactile sensation between "Light" and the user?

The implication being that either the hand will require a glove or more likely a series of implants.

From there the question is how far from the brainstem?

How far from the brain?

If you can create sensation with nuero-response, why not create imagery within neuro-cortex?

In short, do you think you will be able to effectively use a display for which you have no "tactile" engagement? And once we involve tactile sensation, well it's only a short hop, skip and jump and we have "full immersion virtual reality".

(Thought occurs: Potentially they are developing this to determine how the brain/eyes, hands map out the relationship and to see how to code it. - What was that A.I company Apple recently bought? Would that have something to do with the creation of a holographic display maybe (face to face interaction)?

Apr 28, 2014
* If you're providing the brain with input that is essentially False - A million/billion/trillion questions need to be asked re: Morality.

I would be more inclined to believe Google will win the Direct Interface Race, with Ray Kurzweil, Deepmind, etc.etc. recently all under their roof, they have recently established a Morality Board as a result of the purchase of "Deepmind".

Not to say we're not already in the Matrix, or that reality isn't defined by Subjective rules or all that...

Just saying.

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