Apple's Ridiculous Patent
As if you needed more evidence that the US patent system is broken Apple has just been awarded one of the most ridiculous patents ever. The title? “Method for providing human input to a computer”
Here’s the Abstract from the filing:
The invention provides a method for providing human input to a computer which allows a user to interact with a display connected to the computer. The method includes the steps of placing a first target on a first portion of the user’s body, using an electro-optical sensing means, sensing data related to the location of the first target and data related to the location of a second portion of the user’s body, the first and second portions of the user’s body being movable relative to each other, providing an output of the electro-optical sensing means to the input of the computer, determining the location of the first target and the location of the second portion of the user’s body, and varying the output of the computer to the display based upon the determined locations for contemporaneous viewing by the user.
It gets better; the patent claims …
1. The invention can provide a 3, 4, and 5 dimensional touch screen or graphics tablet. In other words, the x,y location of the touch, the force or depth of the touch, and the vector direction of the touch (2 angles).
Of course, there’s no actual demonstration of this “5D” system and like so many modern patents this one amounts to a hand-waving (literally) exercise more along the lines of “what if” than anything concrete. Those issues aside, where’s the novelty?
I wonder how this patent will stand up to challenges and, should Apple try to exert what has become its intellectual property, how well might they fare in court?
it’s a mad mad mad mad world and getting madder