Apple Israel just patented virtual buttons for your walls
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on Reddit
Share on Email

Photo Credit: Mike Deerkoski / Flickr

Photo Credit: Mike Deerkoski / Flickr

According to Israeli news site Calcalist, our living rooms may soon become one large, button-filled iPad

According to Israeli news site Calcalist, the future of Apple’s smart home technology is being developed in the startup nation. A new patent from Apple’s Israeli research and development center in Herzliya that was registered toward the end of August documents the development of a 3D sensor that will screen virtual buttons on various surfaces, including walls and furniture, for controlling electronic devices. Beyond acting as one large iPad, the 3D sensor will also be able to detect the position, height, and movements of those in the room and will adjust its displays accordingly.

Called “flexible room controls,” the product is largely based on Israeli PrimeSense’s 3D sensor. When Apple bought PrimeSense for $350 million in 2013, many expected that it would integrate PrimeSense’s sensor technology with devices such as the Apple TV to revolutionize the living room experience. Now Apple may finally have the chance to beat Microsoft, which already used PrimeSense’s technology in its Microsoft Kinect for XBox 360, at the smart home game.

To check out PrimeSense’s camera sensor, this review analyzes some of its applications.

However, the technology is not quite there to be able to project all these virtuals from something as simple as a smartphone, or at least a device as small as PrimeSense’s Carmine 1.09 3D Camera Sensor. The central aspect of the patent is the development of a sensor as well as a projector installed in one’s living room ceiling, which will display virtual control buttons on the wall. After scanning the room and adjusting based on the people inside it, the projector will show ways to control various devices including air conditioners, televisions, audio systems, and lights. 

While the buttons will resemble traditional controls, such as on and off switches for lights, a rotary knob to adjust for temperature in an air conditioner, etc., what is more intriguing is that these user friendly depictions will merge with iPad-like features. For example, buttons will light up when pressed and can be moved to wherever on the wall the user desires using hand gestures.

Essentially, all of these projected buttons will help us become larger couch potatoes than we already are: There may no longer be a need to fetch a TV remote control.

Only time will tell if Apple keeps or abandons this patent, and ultimately, will stand a chance against the likes of Google and Samsung in the ever crowded smart home space.

Share on:Share
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on Reddit
Share on Email
Laura Rosbrow-Telem

About Laura Rosbrow-Telem


I am a social entrepreneurship enthusiast: This is what happens when a former social worker becomes a tech journalist. I mostly write about startups, technology, peace and justice issues, cultural topics, and personal stuff. Before Geektime, I was an editor at the Jerusalem Post and Mic.

More Goodies From IoT


FBI warns parents: Internet-connected toys can spy on your kids

5 Predictions About the Future of IoT for Medical Devices

This is how connected tools will increase productivity in major industries