Architosh reader Houston Neal of the Web site Software Advice has written in to tell us about a video demonstrating how Apple’s 3D Head-Tracking software patent could be put to use for viewing simple or complex 3D virtual building models or BIM (building information modeling) projects.
You can check out the video here. It is undoubtedly pretty cool!
Instead of using a mouse or even a 3D mouse to rotate and spin 3D models the user would simply move their head or body to “look behind” the model. In the video posted by Houston Neal a user simply rocks his body to one side and the model rotates around. Perhaps in combination with a mouse click these movements could be further extended. It is not clear from the video example how one would, say, rotate the building model all the way around.
Houston also writes that this technology could work with 2D imagery as well, like electronic blue prints. The Head-Tracking technology–which works through a camera on the computer or monitor–would detect movement and upon detecting it implement various pan or scroll functions in software.
Apple and 3D Head-Tracking
Apple would likely implement this new technology as an extension of the user-interface interaction capabilities, adding to what the user can do with the mouse, track-pad, voice and camera. Users familiar with Apple’s latest OS know that the Apple touch technology–first introduced on the iPhone–has migrated to the Mac and one can imagine innovative ways of merging combinations of the track-pad with this 3D Head-Tracking technology.
Exposing it as an API would allow developers of 3D software (CAD, BIM, modeling/rendering/animation, etc.) to implement new ways of navigating in 3D within their 3D-based applications. It is very promising technology to see and it will be very interesting to see how Apple would use it.