The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 46 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's wild 3D imaging and display apparatus. Just last month Apple was granted a patent for different aspects of the same invention. The differences between the patents could easily be found in the finer details of Apple's patent claims. Whether the recent activity regarding this invention means Apple is any closer to delivering such a device is unknown at this time.
In last month's granted patent, Apple was found to be focusing on a method of detecting a user input in a 3D volume, optically detecting a user input in an imaging volume. In today's granted patent we see that Apple' focus is the actual display apparatus, system and its scanning beam.
Patently Apple covered the original patent application regarding this invention back in 2011 where you'll find more graphics and a complete overview of the system that's worth checking out.
With Apple acquiring PrimeSense who was behind Microsoft's Kinect device, Apple's wild invention just might have a chance of coming to life in the future. Being able to interact with Apple TV via Air Gestures would be very cool.
All of the connections to PrimeSense patents found in our December 2013 report have now been disconnected, as Apple wants to keep their possible future 3D inventions secret.
Apple's granted patent notes that "Modern three-dimensional ("3D") imaging and display technologies are employed in widely diverse environments and technologies. Examples include medical diagnostics, entertainment, flight simulation, robotics, education, animation, biomechanical studies, virtual reality, and so forth. There are numerous 3D input devices including, for example, variations on the computer mouse or touch pad. Ordinarily, these are manipulated in just two dimensions, the x-axis and the y-axis. However, through various computer programming artifices, these devices can provide a measure of control in the third dimension of the z-axis. In 3D, however, such constructs can be indirect, time consuming, artificial, and can require considerable practice and training to do well."
Apple's granted patent provides a three-dimensional imaging and display system that overcome the inefficiencies noted in their patent background which are in-part noted above. According to Apple, "User input is optically detected in an imaging volume by measuring the path length of an amplitude modulated scanning beam as a function of the phase shift thereof. Visual image user feedback concerning the detected user input is presented."
Apple credits Christopher Krah as the sole inventor of granted patent 8,780,332 which was filed in Q3 2011 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. You can view Apple's previous patent claims here which are in contrast to their current patent claims found here.
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Comments are reviewed daily from 4am to 8pm MST and sporadically on the weekend.