The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 49 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a 3D scanner/projector invention relating to a gaming console that Apple inherited from PrimeSense. We also cover a hover gesture control invention, an Apple Watch UI design patent and wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Granted Patent: Scanning Projectors for 3D Mapping
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to methods and devices for projection and capture of optical radiation, and particularly to projection and image capture for purposes of 3D mapping. Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted below is a schematic top view of a system for 3D mapping.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 noted above is a schematic, pictorial view of a 3D mapping system #90 in operation. In this system, device #22 is used in conjunction with a game console #92 [think Microsoft Kinect or Nintendo Wii] to operate an interactive game, with two participants 94 and 96. For this purpose, device #22 projects a pattern of spots #100 onto objects in its field of view, including the participants and a background #98, such as the wall (and other elements) of the room in which the system #90 is located. The device captures and processes an image of the pattern in order to create a 3D map of the participants and other objects in the scene. The console controls the game in response to the participants' body movements, which are detected by the device or console by segmenting and analyzing changes in the 3D map.
The information about scene geometry is provided by the images captured by imaging module 38 (FIG. 1) and/or by the 3D maps that are generated by processing these images. Thus, radiation source #32 and scanner #34 (FIG. 1) are controlled dynamically, during operation of system #90 (FIG. 2) , to project spots #100 with greater density on objects of importance that are either small or rapidly varying, or otherwise require closer attention or better depth coverage, such as the bodies of the participants. On the other hand, large smooth objects, such as background #98, are covered with a sparser pattern. The device #22 may adjust the pattern density adaptively in successive images, in response to changes in the scene.
Apple credits Alexander Shpunt, Benny Pesach and Ronen Akerman as the inventors of granted patent 9,098,931 which was originally filed in Q1 2012 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple now owns a series of interrelated 3D scanner/projector patents that go beyond gaming as noted below:
One: Apple Wins Patent for a Photonics Optical Projection Module
Two: Apple Granted a 3D Camera Patent Focused on Time-Coded Illumination
Three: Apple Wins Patent for a Projector System Designed for Controlling Games on iDevices via Gestures
Four: Apple Invents a Highly Advanced Air-Gesturing System for Future iDevices and Beyond
Granted Patent: Concurrent Signal Detection for Touch and Hover Sensing
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to concurrent signal detection for touch and hover sensing. On June 18, 2015 we posted a report titled "Apple Advances Touch and Hover Sensing Technologies for Future iDevices." The two are similar yet cover slightly different aspects of the same technology.
Apple credits Senior Technologist Brian King who used to work in NASA's jet propulsion lab. King has extensive experience in analog and digital image and signal processing (optics, acoustic, inertial sensing, radar, SAR) which play an important role in today's invention.
The other inventors associated with this invention include Omar Leung, Paul Puskarich, Jeffrey Bernstein, Andrea Mucignat, Avi Cieplinski, Muhammad Umar, Praveen Subramani, Marc Piche, David Amm and Duncan Kerr as the inventors of granted patent 9,098,138.
Apple Granted an Apple Watch UI Design Patent
Apple's sole granted design patent today covers the Apple Watch Apps User Interface.
There's been a lot of intellectual property activity surrounding Apple Watch in the last several weeks. Below is a list of other reports that we've filed covering Apple Watch design patents and trademarks:
Part 1: Apple Watch with Leather Loop Band Wins Design Patent in China
Part 2: Apple Watch with Modern Buckle Band Wins Design Patent in China
Part 3: Apple Granted another 10 Apple Watch Design Patents in China Cover Various Bands and its MagSafe Charger
Part 4: The Last 13 Apple Watch Design Patents from China Cover their Link Bracelet, Instructional Displays & More
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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