Apple Mechanical Overlay Patent

Above are some images of an Apple patent which have just been published by the US Patent Office. It’s an interresting idea: a touch-pad, just like the current Apple trackpad, or a touchable-screen, as in the rumored touch-screen iPod, but that can house different mechanical overlays that convert all or part of the surface into a mechanical device. The more improbable being a joystick (ok, I’d like to see that thing withstand intense gamer pounding), with the more serious being a control surface which is what many people use Macs for already, although they plug in the controller alongside it. These ideas can obviously go in many directions, and I won’t comment them any more here, at least not right now. But while all the (other) geeks out there are salivating, I just wanted to point out that Apple’s idea maybe isn’t all that original, especially when you compare it to this technology I used to play in the 1970’s under the name Magnavox Odyssey (1972):

Magnavox Odyssey, 1972