updated 11:00 am EST, Thu February 21, 2008
Multitouch device, methods
The US Patent and Trademark office today published five of Apple's patents, describing versatile multi-touch input device and control methods in a wide array of fields. The device appears to be an ergonomic multi-touch keyboard-style device that can accept a wide array of touch commands, including typing, resting, pointing, scrolling, 3D manipulation, and handwriting. The patents involve actions that are simple for the user to know and remember, while the system has little difficulty differentiating between the actions.
The device is described as being able to scale, zoom, rotate, scroll, and other actions. It is also said to recognize different areas of the hand, such as palms, knuckles or fingertips, allowing the user to control various actions according to context.
In addition to various finger patterns and touch methods, the device will also measure motion and velocity, potentially allowing users to control different functions through a range of speed and direction.