Patent: Controlling Your iPhone Using Camera Gestures
A new patent application filed by Apple in August 2008 was published today that describes a new way of controlling a small handheld device like the iPhone by swiping a finger in front of the camera on the back of the device while it’s still up to your ear. Uses for this might include voicemail options like rewind, fast forward, or pause, so you can control it while it’s still against your head. It also suggests using the accelerometer to control tapping input to supplement finger swipes.
In one embodiment, to access his voice mailbox, a user may tap the phone to cause playback of a message to pause, tap the phone again to resume playback, swipe his finger over the camera lens in one direction to fast forward playback, and swipe his finger over the camera lens in another direction to rewind playback. These actions allow the user to control functions of voicemail review without removing the device from over his ear.
In another embodiment, functions for controlling call features utilize similar user actions or motions. Features such as merging multiple calls, putting a call on hold, and switching between or among multiple simultaneous calls may be controlled by single or double (or any number of) taps of the device, as detected by an accelerometer of the device. These taps may be preprogrammed by a manufacturer, or selected and programmed by a user.
It also suggests possibly using the camera swipe to control navigating a web page, document, or contacts list. This would be particularly useful when you need to navigate the iPhone but have only one hand free, as using your thumb loosens your grip on the device and obstructs your view.
[via Patently Apple]