Apple has been awarded a major patent relating to the Tablet platform just ahead of the device's unveiling at a special media event that is to start in less than an hour from now. This patent relates to a technology that will enable a device like Tablet to detect the presence of objects in the vicinity and carry out tasks based on the presence or absence of the same.
In the patent, the inventors elaborate on the difference between proximity detection and touchscreen systems. Unlike the latter where the user is required to be in physical contact with the sensors, proximity detection systems may recognize user inputs simply by their actions in the proximity of the device. This is done with the help of a variety of techniques such as capacitive, electric field, inductive, optical shadow, etc.
The implementation of such a technology on the Apple Tablet will highly revolutionize the way users interact with their devices. Such a technology will enable customized user interfaces to be displayed depending on the proximity of an object to the sensors. For example, a media player running a movie may display controls such as Pause, Volume anytime the sensors detect the user approaching the Tablet's screen.
It is not clear if proximity detection will be incorporated in the Tablet being unveiled today. This is nevertheless an interesting innovation that can offer an exciting interactive platform for the Tablet in the versions to come.
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