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In Brief: Apple awarded patent for multi-touch virtual CAD technology

Apple awarded patent for virtual CAD tools for multi-touch OS

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AppleInsider has reported today that Apple has been granted a patent (#8,487,889) for a “Virtual drafting tools” technology as applied to its patented multi-touch GUI for iOS. The patent applies to virtual drafting tools like rulers, protractors, et cetera and can applied to devices like Apple’s popular iPad device.

Multi-touch enabled virtual CAD tools

Apple’s virtual CAD tools patent was initiated in 2010 and credits Nicholas V. King as its inventor. The patent notes that its virtual tools can resemble traditional drafting equipment, such as a ruler, t-square, protractor, compass and other items. The patent makes reference to a “snap to” function which is common in today’s CAD world where alignment and snapping to vertices is common.

The patent also references the users of multiple virtual drafting tools at the same time, including outlining possible use scenarios. For example, a virtual compass can be rotated using gestures to control the input.

01 - An image from the patent application from Apple for "virtual drafting tools".

01 – An image from the patent application from Apple for “virtual drafting tools”.

Finally, the patent makes reference to tools customization, including items like controlling line thickness and other graphical assets.

Architosh Analysis

While this patent is interesting we don’t think Apple is planning on producing any kind of CAD application for the iPad. This would be a very big surprise if they did. The CAD authoring space on the iPad itself is absolutely devoid of apps from major CAD companies, largely we believe because “authoring” CAD documents on the iPad is not nearly as demanded of as compared to viewing and marking up CAD documents on the iPad.

Apple may have pushed this patent through simply to protect some user-interface and user-experience options it has created using multi-touch.

To read the full report at AppleInsider go here.

Reader Comments

  1. one interesting thing about Apple’s virtual CAD tools patent is it corresponds CAD tools to finger positions…

  2. …so in some ways Apple’s virtual CAD tools patent is like finger positions forming a chord on a guitar. There is something musical about this idea.

  3. The whole goal of Apple’s virtual CAD tools patent is to eliminate picking CAD tools from a command menu or tool bar. It eliminates a “head’s up” display of these items too…the user must remember finger positions like grabbing a F-chord on a guitar for example to provoke a specific tool…like the protractor for example. This recalls sign language as well…I personally would really like to see this technology in action.

  4. RT @architosh: The whole goal of Apple’s virtual CAD tools patent is to eliminate picking CAD tools from a c… http://t.co/NZuoE53hT8

Comments are closed.

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