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Apple wins 41 new patents, including hand-gesture controls

The feature appears to be similar to the Kinect, and allows for full hand-gesture control over a respective device.

Could Apple be getting into the gesture-control game?
Could Apple be getting into the gesture-control game? CBS Interactive

Apple has won 41 new patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, including one that could eventually deliver Kinect-like functionality to Macs.

According to Patently Apple, which obtained a copy of the patents Apple was awarded on Tuesday, the company has won intellectual property that will allow it to transfer user input from a keyboard and mouse to sensors that would be placed around a display.

The technology, which in some ways dovetails on the technology found in Microsoft's Kinect, will automatically determine if a person is up close enough to a screen to use the mouse and keyboard or if they've moved away. In the event they've moved away, the computer automatically switches from mouse control to gesture control.

Interestingly, Apple points to the technology's use in both desktops and televisions, further prompting questions over whether the company has plans for gesture control to be baked into any television it might be working on. The feature could ostensibly also find its way to iPhones and iPads.

When gesture control is entered, the user can perform all kinds of actions, according to the patent, including scrolling, zooming, and selecting items. The option can work across the operating system and active applications, according to the filing.