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Apple patents Kinect-like gesture-based controller

by Todd Haselton | April 7, 2015April 7, 2015 7:40 am PDT

Plenty of firms already have gesture-based controllers available. Microsoft’s Kinect is just one example of a product that works well with the Xbox One. A new Apple patent suggests that Cupertino has already researched similar technology.

The patent was first filed in March 2013 but was granted on Tuesday. It’s titled “Learning-based estimation of hand and finger pose,” and describes a way of creating a 3D depth map using image sensors and then executing commands based on gestures made by a human hand. Here’s a description of the invention in legalese:

An embodiment of the present invention provides a method for processing data, including: receiving a depth map of a scene containing a human hand, the depth map including a matrix of pixels having respective pixel depth values; extracting from the depth map respective descriptors based on the depth values in a plurality of patches distributed in respective positions over the human hand; matching the extracted descriptors to previously-stored descriptors in a database; and estimating a pose of the human hand based on stored information associated with the matched descriptors.

AppleInsider notes that Apple actually already owns technology that’s similar to the Microsoft Kinect. It acquired a firm named PrimeSense two years ago that actually helped develop the technology in the Kinect. Apple hasn’t ever said specifically if it will add gesture controls to its products, but it might be something that could be used in a future Apple TV product.

USPTO AppleInsider

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...