Apple Wins 40 Patents Today Covering the iPhone 7 Design, Magic Trackpad 2 and Technology behind 3D Apple Maps
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 40 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's Magic Trackpad 2, the iPhone 7's design and an acquired patent from Sweden that advances the creation of 3D imagery for Apple Maps. 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: The Multi-Force Magic Trackpad 2
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to their Magic Trackpad 2 that covers an input device that can detect of an amount of force applied at a location on its surface.
Apple's granted patent 9,798,409 was originally filed in Q1 2015 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Granted Patent: Accurate Image Alignment to a 3D Model
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to a method and a device for positioning an acquired image, in particular a street-level image, using a textured three-dimensional (3D) model. The invention is likely used in the creation of Apple Maps.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 illustrates alignment of the acquired image to the rendered image; FIG. 6 illustrates a space scale representation,
In the patent's background, the inventors note that "While 3D modeling using aerial images generally results in high-quality positioning, street-level 3D modeling typically suffers from lower-quality positioning. Factors such as, for instance, GPS signal shadows due to obstacles, signal distortions and the drifting of IMU data in the relatively varied motion of street-level vehicles deteriorate measurements on ground level. This causes the recorded position of street-level images to be inaccurate. Further, mechanical and optical properties of a given real camera differ from those of an assumedly identical camera, resulting in incorrect measurements. Yet a further problem is that alignment of images captured at angels differing greatly is troublesome since it will be difficult to find overlapping image data. Thus, when projecting street-level images onto a 3D model derived from aerial images, there is a significant risk of mismatch since the pose of the ground-level camera used for capturing the street-level images does not comply with the geographic referenced details of the aerial 3D model.
Apple's invention covers various embodiments seek to improve prior art methods of positioning captured (or acquired) images and, in particular, captured street-level images. In one embodiment, a method and device for positioning an image using a textured 3D model of a region of space is described. The method includes acquiring an image to be positioned (representing at least a portion of the region of space), the image having an initial pose, aligning the acquired image with the 3D model to obtain a new estimated pose (using, at least in part, texture information contained in the 3D model), and positioning the acquired image using said new estimated pose. A device in accordance with this embodiment includes processing means for performing these operations.
By its use of texture information, techniques in accordance with this disclosure may be applicable more broadly than prior art approaches. In particular, this disclosure provides for positioning of an image that has not been acquired at street level and thus lacks a skyline or similar structure; in such an image, texture features are more often available than a skyline is, and this allows the image to be positioned with the 3D model by using the texture information contained therein.
To review the details of this invention, see Apple's granted patent 9,799,139 that was originally filed in Q3 2013 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The invention is one that Apple acquired from two Swedish inventors. The original European patent dates back to Q1 2011.
Apple Granted a Design Patent for the iPhone 7
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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