Swipe Backward, Forward, Pause, or Play on Your iPhone via Camera Gestures -- Apple Patent Watch


Patently Apple brings another interesting Apple proposal to our attention -- this one involving using the iPhone camera to detect swipes backward, forward, and the accelerometer to detect pause or play for things like Voice Mail without having to move the iPhone away from your ear. But that's not all:

Consider the following example of navigating the display screen. If the user wishes to scroll down on a webpage or text document, then the user would simply move their finger across the camera lens in an upward direction (i.e., towards the top of the screen 200). This would be consistent with moving the page "up" so as to bring a bottom portion of the page into view. To move the page down (and thereby bring a top portion of the page into view), the reverse needs to occur, i.e., the user needs to swipe across the lens in a downward direction. Note that navigation on the display screen (using a finger swipe across the camera lens) need not be limited to straight up and down, but rather could be performed in other or additional directions (e.g. left and right). Now that Apple is introducing "iBook" – think of flipping the page of a book using this method so that you don't even have to move your hands from the iPhone or future camera based iPad.

So now we've heard of case gestures, bevel gestures, and camera gestures... Of course Apple patents tons of stuff we haven't and may never see in real products, but are any of these starting to interest you?

[Patently Apple via MacRumors]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Swipe Backward, Forward, Pause, or Play on Your iPhone via Camera Gestures -- Apple Patent Watch


Sounds like a good way to scratch your camera lens- or at least get it greasy. Better put an oleophobic coating there too. Also the camera is quite tiny and could be hard to locate. But interesting concept in any case.

I can't remember the last time I had my iPhone up to my ear. Gets all smudged, and dries up all gritty... screw that.

So, now the camera will be on and active when you're not actively in the camera program. That sounds like a great way to shorten battery life.

They should have used a different example than iBook as I don't see the use case for that - how hard is it to flip pages on the touch screen? I'm guessing there are some great uses for this that they don't want to let out of the bag yet.

Amazingly not well recieved here! I really don't get why is it so hard to accep new stuff, really.
Do you all really think what you wrote here? So negative about the idea?

@Lady Kaede:

Only makes sense with a front-facing camera. Any day, now . . .

Well, not exactly. As described its for use while the phone is up to your ear, or while looking at the screen.
Its sort of a mouse substitute, like the pearl on a blackberry, except no moving parts.
And its on the back so you can see the whole screen, work it with one index finger and not obstruct your view. A front facing camera would make this useless, as it would be just as easy to do it on the screen as it would on the camera.
Would seem to work better for left-hand use. Your finger falls naturally on the lens.

Yes, in technical illustrations, dotted lines indicate that which exists behind (or not seen from viewpoint). The dotted circle is the lens on back.

@Icebike -- OK, yes, I see. And that just makes it silly to me. Didn't Apple already patent a capacitative back for the iPhone that would turn the back into a Magic Mouse-like surface? A much easier sell and learn than waggling a finger in front of the camera. Still, you're right, I was missing the (silly!0 intent of the patent.

Did anyone notice the web running in an independant active window with icons at the bottom. Very Palm Pre multitasking look... Which is where iPhone needs to be going to move ahead. Tired if one app at a time.

Apple attempting to patent a technology used by Palm's WebOS now? Then Apple will refer to it as their idea and call it "Revolutionary."

Minian, I believe what they call revolutionary is the fact they can take an idea from others and vastly improve it to make it much more user friendly and streamlined.

It's a shame that most people don't realize that there have been phones doing what iPhone has done years before it even existed. Trendy flashy promotions and shiny packages sell the product.