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Apple applies for 3D remote control patent

updated 12:05 pm EDT, Thu May 8, 2008

Apple 3D remote patent

An Apple patent application, just published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, depicts a new 3D remote technology. Similar in basic concept to the controller for Nintendo's Wii console, the remote would have a photosensor, accelerometer or gyroscope, and detect absolute and/or relative position to an image. Distinguishing it would be the ability to zoom in on part of an image at will by pushing a button.

Yet more unusual may be the devices that could qualify as a remote, as the patent makes specific reference to allowing "any portable, mobile, hand-held, or miniature consumer electronic device" to function in this regard. This may imply the compatibility of the iPhone or iPod touch, both of which already have motion sensors, and are expected to gain some sort of remote control functionality through the iPhone 2.0 firmware. The patent likewise says that input could include a touchscreen, or even the sort of clickwheel used on the iPod classic and Nano.

Parallels with the Wii return in that the patent makes further reference to gaming; instead of merely pointing at objects, a remote could be used to move a game character, or perhaps shift field-of-view. It is also believed that this could be used within the context of Apple's virtual world concept, but the new patent does not refer to this. Apple demonstrated motion-sensor gaming when it initially revealed the iPhone SDK to developers.

by MacNN Staff



  1. the404error

    Joined: Dec 1969




  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    spin this...

    By the time Steve is finished, he'll have everybody believing that nobody had thought of any of this before Apple!

  1. Loren

    Joined: Dec 1969



    By the time Steve is done with this, it'll work and look beautiful.

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Spin on this

    That's the whole point of patents: you thought of it first. Getting a patent approved takes months / years (hence the infamous "Pat Pending" cartoon) -- so it's entirely possible this was given to the patent office alongside, say, the Pippin's wireless remotes. Don't Wii on everyone if they don't happen to fit your schedule.

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