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Apple Files Patent for Wand Controller for Apple TV

 Apple TV
Apple has filed a patent for a wand-based remote control device for the Apple TV. AppleInsider first reported the patent application for a device that could add 3D-movement to controlling the Apple TV and replace the current multi-button remote control Apple ships with Apple TV and (and used to ship with Macs with Front Row).

The short version of the patent, which was filed in May of 2008, is that the user would use the wand to control a mouse cursor. The position of the mouse could either be determined by infrared modules positioned next to the screen, or by use of an accelerometer or gyroscope inside the wand itself.

The patent application also suggested that gesture-based movements could be used to replace the use of at least some button controllers.

From the description, "In some embodiments, the user may provide a selection input by moving wand in a particular manner. For example, the user may flick wand (e.g., move wand in circular pattern), rotate wand in a particular manner (e.g., perform a rotation of wand), move wand a particular distance off screen, or any other suitable movement of wand."

Even the position of the wand relative to the screen could be used: "To zoom out, the user may move wand away from screen such that the distance between wand and screen may be larger than the initial distance between wand and screen."

Whether or not the company brings a product based on this patent filing -- it has not yet been granted -- remains to be seen. The company files scores of new patents every year, and not all of them result in or are used in shipping products.

4 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Lee Dronick said:

I can see the kids from Harry Potter now, “Changous video”


Lancashire-Witch said:

My current remote control has 6 buttons ....


Bryan Chaffin said:

Hi Lancashire-Witch, and thanks for the note. It kind of depends on how you’re counting them, so we edited the story to say “multi-button” remote control.

Thanks for the correction!



WhiteyMcBrown said:

I think this is a great idea. I had actually thought of this when the Wii came out. I’ve used the software Maya a little. I think both could be used together to create an amazing remote experience without being needlessly complicated. Imagine a WiiMote where you point at the screen and menus fly out in a circular pattern around your target, giving you all sorts of options. Example: I’m playing a movie; I press the action button while pointing my remote in the middle of the screen; play, pause, rewind, etc. fly out in a circle and I just gesture my controller in that direction. I’ve only pressed one button and I can do any number of things. Next, I’m listening to music, I press the action button and gesture upwards with the remote; the volume increases.


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