Apple is investigating touch-sensitive holographic displays for future Macs and iOS devices, according to a new patent published today. As described, the patent would emulate the current touch-based interface for iPhones and tablets, only using near-field proximity in place of physical touch. The 3-D holographic images would be produced using beams of light, using a lens assembly made up of multiple micro lenses each of which can deflect laser light at different angles to produce a three-dimensional optical illusion.
Apple’s first invention relating to a 3D holographic display was back in 2008. Today the US Patent and Trademark Office officially published Apple’s second granted patent in this field but takes it to a whole new level aiming for an interactive holographic display for Macs and iDevices like an iPhone or iPad. Apple notes in their granted patent that “The mobile telephone, media player and personal computer can provide a three-dimensional viewing and interacting experience, without the requirement of a reflective medium or wearing 3D glasses. Accordingly, a truly unobtrusive interactive three-dimensional holographic display can be provided.”