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Apple files patent to provide 3D realism

Company has filed a patent for technology that would allow objects on-screen to interact with the user's real environment. Objects will even move to reflect the user's position.

Apple patent
A look at Apple's new patent idea

I'm not one to get excited about patent filings, but this one was enough to make me think twice about what the future might hold.

Apple filed a patent this week with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It describes an "electronic device for providing a display that changes based on the user's perspective." The patent says that the product would include "a sensing mechanism" that's capable of detecting the user's position relative to the display. MacRumors originally reported on the patent.

The filing said that the device would include "a camera operative to detect the position of the user's head." Using that detected position, the device would then "transform" objects displayed on a monitor so the perspective the user sees "reflects the detected position of the user."

The overarching goal behind Apple's patent is to provide a realistic 3D experience. But it gets better. The technology would also be able to detect the user's environment and affect objects on the display based on the data it collects. For example, if the technology finds different areas within the user's environment that reflect or refract light, the objects on the display will do the same.

Apple even said that it could add depth and 3D-like characteristics to 2D objects on the display.

I, for one, am excited about the possibility this technology affords. By using a video camera, it can literally change objects on a monitor to react to the user's environment. Gone would be the days of viewing simple content on a display. If Apple's technology becomes a reality, it could totally transform the way people interact with their monitors. It could also have a major impact on the Web.

For now, Apple's technology is years away. But it's still fun to wait. And dream.