Apple Granted a Patent for Controlling a Future TV or iMac Display using Gaze and Pointing Gestures
Apple Granted 48 Patents Today Covering Optical Connectors, Cellular Connectivity for Apple Watch & more

Apple Granted a Patent Covering iOS Devices with Built-In Laser Mapping Capabilities

26 Single Granted Patent
1af 88 cover - laser beam measuring on iPhone

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 48 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover yet another Apple invention related to mapping environments. Apple has many 3D mapping inventions related to camera systems. In fact we covered one this morning related to mapping a human hand that would be able to control or add functionality to a future TV or iMac display for instance. In many respects 3D mapping uses a laser to perform a mapping function and this is now being incorporated in Augmented Reality (AR) apps for Microsoft's HoloLens for mapping rooms and Google's Project Tango camera for Lenovo's dual lens camera. On that linked webpage Google notes that with their 3D camera, users will be able to measure their surroundings and re-imagine rearranging household furniture in an AR application. That's exactly what one of Apple's granted patents cover today. Prior to acquiring PrimeSense who specialized in 3D depth mapping, Apple was exploring this technology a little differently, but leading to the same type of technology. Apple's granted patent titled "Electronic device with mapping circuitry" we're able to see a future mapping application for an iOS device like an iPhone will use a laser sensor and laser beam to gather measurements of a room that includes shapes, distances, attributes of environmental objects and volume as noted in the patent figures below.


In Apple's patent FIG. 6 noted below we're able to see a diagram showing how a device may use a laser beam to gather sample data for volumetric measurements from one or more positions in a room.


2af 88

In Apple's patent FIG. 8 below we're able to see a diagram showing how a laser sensor may provide laser data to a mapping application and other applications; FIG. 9 is a flow diagram showing how laser sample data and device position data may be combined to form mapping data.


3af laser beam

The 3D mapping that Apple has brought to their new iPhone 7 Plus camera requires a laser to perform a 3D scan of an environment. Todays granted patent links the laser mapping to a function of a camera. The patent notes that when the device (an iPhone) is in a mapping mode of operation, a user may compress a button. Compressing the button may activate a laser sensor to generate laser beam that may cause circuitry in the device to gather sample data such as a sample of laser data and a sample of device position data."


While some may fantasize about how Apple's technology could apply to future autonomous driving cars to sound cool, the fact is that Apple's technology is a little more down to earth and focused on being used in a camera in an iOS device and not in cars whatsoever.


On September 15, Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's Enthusiasm for Integrating Augmented Reality into Future Devices and Apps is Growing Louder." In that report we covered recent commentary made by Apple's CEO Tim Cook on Apple's focus on Augmented Reality instead of Virtual Reality.


Cook told the ABC TV host that AR "gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things -- visually -- for both of us to see. Maybe it's something we're talking about, maybe it's someone else here who's not here present but who can be made to appear to be present. There's a lot of really cool things there."


In order to be able to do that, 3D mapping must be implemented at every level so that the imposed AR imagery fits into a user's visual field accurately and realistically.


Patently Apple first covered today's granted patent 9,456,307 as a patent application in a report titled "Apple invents a Laser Beam Mapping System for iDevices." For more details and graphics, see our previous report here.


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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.




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