Gesture-Controlled iPads?

Will Apple bring forth gesture-controlled iPads? Well, they have a patent for the idea, apparently.

(Gesture-Controlled iPad patent)

According to Apple's new patent documentation, a user will be able to perform gestures on a future version of an iPad display that will directly or indirectly manipulate, control, modify, move, actuate, initiate or generally affect graphical elements such as cursors, icons, media files, lists, text, all or portions of images, or the like within the GUI.

Gestures, in general, could take many forms. For example, a gesture could take the form of a geometric pattern (e.g., half-circle, circle, square, triangle, etc.), a symbol (e.g., check mark, question mark, simple arrow with any shaped terminator, caret, etc.), letters, predetermined patterns, user programmed patterns, and combinations thereof. When a gesture is applied to the iPad's display, the iPad could automatically determine a boundary corresponding to the selection indicated by a gesture using positional data corresponding to the contours of the gesture on or near the surface of the iPad's display.

Fans of Douglas Adams need no new-fangled patent documents, since they recall the gesture-based interface used in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy from a generation earlier:

A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.

Update 15-Jul-2016: Here's an earlier reference to the idea of a gesture interface from Samuel R. Delany's Babel-17 (1968):

Rydra shook her head. She passed her hand before the filing crystal. In the concaved screen at the base, words flashed. She stilled her fingers. "Navigator-Two. . . ." She turned her hand. "Navigator-One. . . ." She paused and ran her hand in a different direction.". . . male, male, male, female...

Rydra watched, her hand drifting through centimeters over the crystal's face. The names on the screen flashed back and forth.

Rydra's hand came down on the crystal face, and the name glowed on the screen.
(Read more about the filing crystal)

End update.

From Patently Apple.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/22/2011)

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