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Apple Granted 43 Patents Today Covering 3D & Super Resolution Camera Inventions and More

Source: Patently Apple, by: Jack Purcher

ip-apple-3d-camera-scan-patent-1882-850The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 43 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover two iDevice camera inventions. The first covers 3D photography using advanced LIDAR technology for iDevices, the same technology that’s used in taking street map shots. It’s a scanning method that has many applications including advanced layered photo editing and creating an avatar using Apple’s recently acquired Faceshift. This technology is likely to be applied when Apple introduces their future dual lens cameras for both iOS and OS X. The second camera patent relates to users having the ability to turn on a Super Resolution Mode on their iOS devices to support taking higher quality Panorama shots.

Granted Patent: 3D Depth Point Cloud from Timing Flight of 2D Scanned Light Beam Pulses

Apple’s newly granted patent generally relates to an optical remote sensing system that can automatically produce a digital, time-varying 3-dimensional (3D) point cloud that represents the 3D coordinates of real world surfaces that are within a given field of view (FOV) and a given distance or depth. In one embodiment, the system can be described as a scanning LIDAR system. The system has an emitter that produces pulses of coherent collimated light beams (e.g., laser pulses), a mirror system, and a detector that is substantially co-located with the emitter to detect the pulsed light beams when they have been scattered or reflected by an object in the scene.

While LIDAR systems are used to create street maps, like the kind Apple is now in the process of gathering  (also see Apple Maps Vehicles list), Apple’s patent states that the new LIDAR system could be “within the same housing of a larger host device such as a consumer electronics product.” For context as to what Apple could eventually use this invention for, see our 2012 report titled “Apple Invents a Killer 3D Imaging Camera for iOS Devices,” which covered advanced 3D imaging using LIDAR and beyond. In that report we learned that Apple’s invention related to “systems, apparatuses and methods for capturing a three-dimensional image using one or more dedicated cameras.” This is why we noted in our opening summary that this invention could apply to future iOS devices using dual cameras.

Apple’s patent FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a scanning LIDAR system; FIG. 2 illustrates how reflected light pulses are captured by a photodetector in the LIDAR system, and illustrates the x-axis FOV.

What Apps will use this Technology?

What will this new 3D scanning technology achieve? Some of the applications for this technology could include better interaction with an app like Faceshift that Apple has reportedly acquired. A 2015 Tom’s Guide report covers the apps that could apply to Intel’s RealSense 3D camera. Apple’s dual lens 3D camera solution will offer similar capabilities. Such a system could also apply to advanced in-air gesturing systems. Apple was just granted such a patent earlier today and has numerous others on record.
Apple’s system could also apply to ‘photo layer editing and refocusing; 3D gaming with Oculus-like devices; auto login using advanced face recognition; assistance with self-driving vehicles; and object avoidance for consumer drones.
apple-3d-camera-scan-patent

Intel also points to 3D immersion on this RealSense webpage that states: “Scan real-life things – like a piece of art, a child’s toy, or your own face and create a digital 3D version that you can share to your favorite social media site or print to a 3D printer” … or use as an avatar in a game as Hasbro described in their recent patent filing.

Apple’s granted patent 9,285,477 was originally filed in Q1 2014 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Granted Patent: Super-Resolution based on Optical Image Stabilization

Apple’s newly granted patent generally relates to camera system within consumer electronic devices like the iPhone and iPad and, particularly, to one having an optical image stabilization mechanism to vary an optical path to a sensor of the camera.

Patently Apple first covered this patent in an in-depth patent application report titled ” Apple Invents New iDevice Super-Resolution Camera Engine .” While the patent doesn’t mention it specifically, Apple’s patent FIG. 8 below clearly shows that this could be associated with taking panoramic shots.

..continue to read on original source.

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