Apple’s new Patent shows HomePod 2 will feature 3D hand gestures and Face ID

ByAdeline Kuang 2019-06-15 394

Apple's intelligent loudspeaker, the HomePod, seems to be gradually gaining a place in the market among competitors such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. This device was introduced in 2017 and that same year was launched in the United States to later reach other countries such as Spain and Mexico.

Now we have known, thanks to a patent application from Apple, that the company would be working on a second version of HomePod that would be at least revolutionary. This new version would bring outstanding novelties such as 3D gestures and even Face ID as iPhone X, XS, XS Max, XR and iPad Pro 2018 already have.

What would HomePod 2 look like under this new patent?

First of all, the patent application does not refer to the HomePod by this name. However, it is almost obvious to think that it has something to do with this device and it is described as an "axiliary device controlled by voice". This loudspeaker would also have several sensors and cameras that "detect hand gestures and other inputs of three-dimensional gestures" such as clapping or waving hands.

This new HomePod 2, by some name, could include LEDs between its outer membranes in order to provide visual information to the user when making hand gestures. These LEDs could also have a second and interesting function such as displaying alphanumeric characters that could indicate the date and time.

Face ID would also be included in this new HomePod and would provide a new way for the HomePod to recognize the user in addition to their voice. As for the technology for 3D gestures made with hands we can intuit that could be used thanks to the tools that Apple has since it bought in 2013 PrimeSense, a company dedicated to this type of technology.

This is part of the description that makes the patent on this type of technologies:

"The gestures described here include focus gestures and unlock gestures. A gesture approach allows the user to activate a non-touch 3D interface inactive. An unlock gesture allows the user to activate a locked non-touch 3D user interface, as pressing a specific sequence of keys unlocks a locked cell phone. In some implementations, the non-touch 3D user interface transmits visual feedback to the user performing the focus and unlocking gestures.

Examples of unlocking gestures include an "upward" gesture, a sequence of two sequential wave gestures and a sequence of two sequential push gestures [...]".

Additional features

Another of the features described in this patent is the detection of ambient light by new sensors. This could lead to the display of a sun icon if sunny weather is forecast. Also, although not related to the light sensor, the shield of a sports team could be reflected when the team wins a match.

Heart rate detection could also be one of the new features of this future HomePod. It would be less curious and useful to have this health functionality beyond Apple Watch.

We could also see how the loudspeaker reflects the mood of the user showing an emoji that would change from happy to sad and vice versa. This happy emoji could also appear when the user asks the device about a birthday or information about a purchase.

Ultimately it seems that the HomePod 2, if this patent becomes a reality, would come with huge changes over the current version. We will keep an eye out for any news related to this issue.

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