The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 43 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover another single patent that relates to an advanced projection system with depth sensors. One of Apple's R&D teams is dedicated to projection systems and they've archived a number of fascinating inventions on this front over the years. The fact that we've yet to see a single projection project come to market yet, makes this engineering group all the more a mystery to us.
Apple Granted Patent for a Projection System with Depth Sensing
Apple has been granted a patent today for their invention relating to image processing systems and, more specifically, to depth sensing in combination with image processing for keystoning.
It appears that Apple has a team focused on all manner of projection systems. One of Apple's engineers by the name of Aaron Leiba that is listed as an inventor on this patent was also behind a mysterious high level projection system project that the patent filing described as being the Next Great Thing.
Another engineer on this patent by the name of Brandon Slack was also behind another granted patent regarding an advanced projection system as noted here.
An issue that is common to many image projection systems is image distortion. An image projection system that is placed at a non-right angle with respect to the projection screen may result in distortion of the projected image on the projection screen. For example, the image for projection may be a square, but the projected image on the projection screen may appear to the viewers as a trapezoid, may appear elongated and so on. Correcting image distortion is referred to as "keystone correction" or "keystoning." Apple's granted patent presents a solution to this problem.
More importantly, Apple's granted patent covers the actual projection system. According to Apple, "The image processing system may include a plurality of sensors operative to perform at least depth measurements, an image processor operative to at least receive depth measurements from the plurality of sensors and to calculate image transforms and an image projection system operative to project at least a first image. The plurality of sensors of the image processing system may be infrared sensors that may be operative to perform at least depth measurements. Furthermore, the image processing system may include a camera, wherein the camera may include a plurality of camera pixels, each pixel being a depth sensor."
Apple's patent FIG. 2A noted above illustrates an image projection system with depth sensors; FIG. 3B shows an example of an image of a projection surface and an image of a projected image on a projection surface; FIG. 5 shows an optical processing system depicting one embodiment of a keystoning method and system.
Apple credits Brandon Slack, Aaron Leiba, Alex Crumlin and Jason Medeiros as the inventors of granted patent 8,538,084 which was originally filed in Q3 2008 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To review today's granted patent and its 16 claims and details, see Apple's patent. Other projection related patents could be viewed in our specialty Archives.
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