A new Apple patent filing published this week outlines a “3D remote control system” that would include Wii remote-like sensing capabilities and could possibly be used as a new type of controller for Apple TV-based games. The application, originally filed in November of 2006, describes “a remote control having a relative motion sensor, wherein the relative motion sensor outputs data indicative of a change in a position of the remote control; at least one predetermined light source; a photodetector that detects light from the at least one predetermined light source and outputs data indicative of the detected light; and at least one controller configured to determine an absolute position of the remote control based on the data output by the relative motion sensor and the photodetector, wherein the absolute position is determined with respect to a reference location.” The patent also says the remote can “zoom into and out of an image or a portion thereof based on the absolute position of the remote control in the third axis,” which could be used with the Apple TV’s photo browsing functionality.

The patent also directly references a “console” that can communicate with the remote using a cable “and/or one or more wireless communication protocols” and “can perform some or all of the processing described for [the] controller.” The console described in the patent can also have “one or more connectors to which accessories can be coupled. Accessories can include cables and/or game cartridges, portable memory devices (e.g., memory cards, external hard drives, etc.), adapters for interfacing with another electronic device (e.g., computers, camcorders, cameras, media players, etc.), or combinations thereof.” As with all patent filings, this does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via AppleInsider]

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.