The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 38 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's technology relating to multitouch and multi-haptics, some original technology for Touch ID and another PrimeSense patent covering the technology behind the Kinect device that's used for both gaming and other types of applications. In addition, Apple was granted 3 design patents covering Touch ID, an Apple Watch Band and Apple TV's user interface. We 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: Extraction of Skeletons from 3D Maps Ray
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to methods and systems for three-dimensional (3D) mapping and specifically to processing of 3D map data.
According to Apple, "Games and other applications based on depth maps have developed very slowly due to the difficulties inherent in capturing, processing, and extracting high-level information from such maps. Finding and tracking the parts of a moving humanoid form in a sequence of depth maps is a particular challenge.
Apple's granted patent covers a method for processing data with includes receiving a temporal sequence of depth maps of a scene containing a humanoid form having a head, the depth maps including a matrix of pixels having respective pixel depth values. Using a digital processor, at least one of the depth maps are processed so as to find a location of the head. Dimensions of the humanoid form are estimated based on the location, and movements of the humanoid form are tracked over the sequence using the estimated dimensions.
In some embodiments, estimating the dimension includes extracting a height of the humanoid form from the at least one of the depth maps based on the location of the head. Extracting the height may include locating a foot of the humanoid form in the at least one of the depth maps, and measuring a distance from the head to the foot. Alternatively, extracting the height includes processing the at least one of the depth maps so as to identify a planar surface corresponding to a floor on which the humanoid form is standing, and measuring a distance from the head to the planar surface.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted below is a schematic, pictorial illustration of a system for 3D mapping and tracking of humanoid forms; FIG. 3 is a flow chart that schematically illustrates a method for extracting and tracking features of humanoid forms in a depth map; and FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of the edge of a humanoid form extracted from a depth map.
Apple's granted patent 9,235,753 was originally filed in Q3 2013 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Granted Patent: Multi-Touch with Multi-Haptics
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to providing multi-touch/multi-haptic systems and methods for iDevice touch displays and beyond.
Apple's invention relates to multi-touch haptic feedback. Multi-touch haptic feedback refers to haptic techniques capable of providing multiple and discretely located haptic sensations across a surface. The haptic system can for example include a plurality of haptic nodes, each of which is capable of issuing vibro-tactile sensations (at the same time or different times and with the same intensity or different intensity). The haptic nodes can for example be configured in a matrix or array. In one embodiment, the haptic nodes are mapped to touch sensing nodes. Each touch sensing node can be assigned one or more haptic nodes. The haptic nodes are typically proximate the touch sensing nodes to which it has been assigned.
In one embodiment, the touch sensing surface is a multi-touch surface thus making a multi touch multi-touch haptic device. In so doing haptic feedback can be provided that indicates information about a multi touch event. For example, the surface under a moving finger can be actuated while the surface under the non-moving finger remains static. In another example, the surface under the moving finger is actuated concurrently with a signal being passed to the other finger indicating that a multi touch action is occurring. In this way, the signals taken together can indicate the nature of the underlying action being taken by the user. For example, if an object (such as an image) is being expanded or reduced in size a larger/more intense signal could be generated (either by increasing frequency or amplitude). It is also contemplated that isolated feedback can be used to provide an on-screen click-wheel or other such user input where the touch screen is used to simulate the "clicks" of the click wheel both audibly and via tactile feedback.
Apple's patent FIG. 2A shows a multi-point multi-haptic system having a multi-touch surface that incorporates a plurality of haptic devices; 12A-12H illustrates a display presenting a GUI object in the form of a map of North America with embedded levels which can be zoomed.
Apple's granted patent 9,235,267 was filed in Q1 2014 with references dating back to 2008.
Granted Patent: Integrated Lead Frame and Bezel Structure and Device (Supporting Fingerprint Feature)
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to integrated circuit packaging, and more specifically to a lead frame structure and method of using same which provides an integrated lead frame and exposed bezel portion for receiving a user's fingertip or the like.
Apple integrated Touch ID into the iPhone 5s (also noted below in Design Patents) in 2013. Todays granted patent was inherited from the Authentec acquisition. The granted patent dates back to 2008. Which of the technologies that are discussed in this patent are actually being used in Apple's today's Touch ID feature is unknown. To explore Apple's granted patent 9,235,747 in more depth, click here.
Apple Granted # Design Patents Today
Apple was granted several key design patents today covering the iPhone 5s with Touch ID (D747,310); the Apple Watch's Modern Buckle Band (D747,234); and Apple's newest version of the Apple TV user interface (D747,336).
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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