Apple Patents a Kinect-like Sensor

I'm not sure what to make of this. Apple has been awarded a patent for new technology that this article says "feels like and performs very much like the Xbox Kinect." It certainly doesn't look like one, at least.

But then again, some of the device's functions do sound awfully familiar on paper:

A scanning beam will be used to pick up movements through a receiver, which has been displayed as a secondary device in this patent. Functioning similarly to the Xbox Kinect, the movements will then be transferred to the system. There’s only one input device and that is your own body.

There's more to it than that, though. Whatever this device is, it apparently not only has the ability to read objects in a 3D space, but project them as wellcould we be looking at real holograms in the comfort of our own homes in the near future? The article claims that "this technology has a variety of applications including but not limited to virtual reality, flight simulation, entertainment, medical diagnostics, gaming and robotics".

Also, given Apple's current direction, I wouldn't be surprised if this thing were built into portable devices like laptops or maybe even a future iPad... dammit, now my Sci-Fi brain is running wild with the possibilities.