Patently Apple was first to discover an Apple patent filing in Europe in October 2015 covering a futuristic home automation system. Apple notes in their granted patent that the location of room controls, such as electrical switches and climate-control thermostats, are generally chosen during the architectural design of a building, and the controls are then hard-wired in place within the walls during construction. If the resident subsequently wishes to add controls or move existing controls to another location, it will generally be necessary to break holes in the wall, run new wiring, and then repair and repaint.
Apple's invention is out to advance the old home system with a new control apparatus, including an optical subsystem, a depth map scanner and a projection system.
When a user walks into their family room, for example, the wall would be void of switches. When setting up the 'room control unit' as illustrated below, the projector will be set to project room controls to a portion of a set wall. When the user touches the vicinity of the wall it acts as a virtual control pad and sets off the projector. The projector will then beam virtual controls onto the wall to control devices in the room from lights, to air conditioning and entertainment systems. Of course it will be different for every room the user has this system set up in.
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple this patent under number 9,430,138. To review Patently Apple's original report, click here. Apple inherited this invention when acquiring Israeli firm PrimeSense.
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