Apple won 52 Patents today covering Face ID for Future Macs, a Trio of Apple Store Design Patents & more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 52 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's patent illustrating their iPhone X depth mapping system adopted for future Macs for not only Face ID but eventually for in-air gesturing to control elements on a user's computer display. Apple was also granted a trio of design patents relating to retail and Apple Store displays. 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: Robust Detection and Classification of Body Parts in a Depth Map
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to a method for processing data, which includes receiving a depth map of a scene containing at least a part of a body of a humanoid form, the depth map including a matrix of pixels having respective pixel depth values. Using a digital processor, a curvature map of the scene is extracted from the depth map, the curvature map including respective curvature values and curvature orientations of at least some of the pixels in the matrix. The depth map is segmented using the curvature values and curvature orientations in the curvature map so as to extract three-dimensional (3D) coordinates of one or more limbs of the humanoid form.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic, pictorial illustration of a system for 3D mapping of humanoid forms.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 above is a schematic representation of a depth map; FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of a normal map extracted from the depth map of FIG. 2; and FIG. 6 is a schematic representation of a map of curvature direction, extending over a portion of the curvature map.
Depth maps contain a wealth of data, but extracting high-level information from depth maps is often difficult. Finding and tracking the pose of a humanoid form in a depth map, for example, requires that a digital processor separate the limbs from the background and other objects in the depth map and correctly identify the positions and orientations of the limbs. (The term "limbs" is used in the context of the present description and in the claims to refer to the arms, legs, and head.) This task may become even more challenging when only a part of the humanoid form, such as the upper body, is captured in the depth map or when the humanoid form is seated or otherwise positioned directly against a background object.
Apple notes toward the end of the patent that "As another example, the computer may apply a face detection algorithm at step 92 in order to detect the subject's face of depth map."
Today's granted patent is a technical patent that incorporates a series of patents, according to the filing. To better understand and appreciate what depth mapping could bring to the Mac requires an overview of the entire project that is captured in a family of patents that you could review here: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10 and 11.
Apple's granted patent 10,043,279 was filed in Q3 2016 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Apple's patent lists Yaron Eshet as the sole inventor of this particular patent in the series on depth mapping. Eshet is a Senior Computer Vision and Machine Learning Scientist at Apple Israel. Eshet worked as a computer vision scientist at Microsoft for over six years working on facial recognition and expression for the Xbox One console; 3D head orientation system for Xbox One. The photo below is from Eshet's LinkedIn profile illustrating his work.
Apple Wins Multiple Retail Store Design Patents
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
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