Apple seeking patent for interactive 3D display

Apple has filed a patent application for an Interactive 3D display system which would allow users to manipulate objects in mid-air. The system involves light being projected through a non-linear crystal, for example, which would convert the signal into a floating 3D image that users could interact with. A sensor assembly logs user input such as touches and swipes to manipulate image.

According to the document filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the system would consist of four main parts, beginning with the display creating a primary 3D image.

The optical system within the unit would create a secondary 3D image based upon the first one which the user would interact with. A sensor system would gather information on the user’s interaction with the secondary 3D image and the display would then update the primary image based on user interaction feedback.

How far the system has been developed since the patent was filed two years ago is unclear, but it shares many features Vermeer - with a 360-degree viewable tabletop display created by Microsoft Research in 2011. With non-interactive holographic displays are already creating a buzz in the retail sector as a new era in digital signage, the creation of an interactive model is the next logical step.