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Apple HomePod 2 Patent Hints It Will Feature 3D Hand Gesture & Face ID.

March 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( A new Apple HomePod 2 patent surfaced online suggesting that the smart speaker will support new features. The details appeared on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website show that Apple is working on a new device that supports features like Face ID and 3D hand gestures. The patent application doesn’t specifically say that it was filed for the HomePod 2, but it describes the device as a “countertop speaker” with a voice-controlled assistant.

Here’s what exactly the patent application says. The voice command on the device will be received by a microphone and certain actions will be taken based on the input. The application details highlight the speaker’s ability to play sound and provide visual output. The housing for the device will accommodate a visual output device. The fabric on the housing overlaps the sidewall and has an opening from where the sound can pass. There is a second opening through which the light can pass.

If the patent is for the HomePod 2, fans should expect to see the device borrowing cylindrical design and looks from the latest Apple HomePod. One of the most interesting HomePod 2 features is 3D hand gesture support. According to the patent details, the device will have a sensor to detect 3D hand gestures. There will be LEDs mounted on the device and these LEDs will display alphanumeric characters. The additional LEDs will provide output by processing the input detected by 3D hand gestures. A microphone will detect these commands and the speaker will play media based on the voice commands received.

The sensor that detects 3D hand gestures sports an optical proximity sensor and it also features a capacitive proximity sensor. Here’s how 3D hand gesture on the HomePod 2 will work. When the device detects hand gesture, the sensors will process the information and provide feedback through variations in light or audible clicks. Through the feedback, users will be able to see or hear if their command has been registered or not.

Another interesting thing about the HomePod 2 features is that the device will support Face ID. In the detailed description of the device, it is said that the speaker will be able to identify individuals by using facial recognition features. It will be done by processing images captured by the camera. The data collected by the cameras can also be used to measure the distance of users from the speaker.

By using the data, HomePod 2 will also be able to measure the distance between the speaker and users’ devices. It can be done in many ways such as including time-of-flight or through radio-frequency signal strength measurements. Using the camera technology will allow the device to determine which device or user is closer than the second user or the device. The Apple HomePod 2 will likely use biometric authentication to receive and identify personal requests made by certain users. The details also hint at the possibility of multi-user account management on future HomePod.

This is not the first time when the HomePod 2 features are being discussed in media. The chances of a new HomePod featuring Face ID and 3D hand gestures were backed by some analysts when an Apple supplier Inventec said that facial recognition could be the future of smart speakers. The details about the new device describe the potential of the future HomePod and suggest that many new features will be added to the HomePod 2. These features include ambient light sensing, heart rate sensing, emoji-based avatar, and weather forecast display.

After keeping the details confidential for more than a year as a part of the process, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has finally revealed the information. The patent application was filed in mid-2017, so we can expect that Apple will add or remove some features after analyzing the HomePod sales reports and feedback the company received from users and critics.

Nothing is set in stone as Apple files many patent applications and many such ideas don’t even take shape. So, it is too early to say what Apple HomePod 2 features you can expect when the device hits stores.

Staff Writer; Corey Shaw

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