Patently Apple posted an interesting granted patent report in September titled "Apple Wins Patent for a Multiuser Eye Tracking System for Computer & TV Displays Applied to Gaming, FaceTime & Beyond." Apple acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), the owner of this patent offers a unique multi-user approach to eye-tracking.
The invention has many applications. One application applies to FaceTime and business conferencing. The Audio of the person that you're speaking with will automatically be louder than others in the FaceTime window.
Another application covers surgery rooms that have multiple doctors and assistants. With multi-user eye tracking, the system will know who is who in the room and provide each doctor or assistant specific information about the surgery on nearby displays.
The other two applications are for controlling games on screen and a TV in a family room. Multi-user eye tracking could be set so that one or more individuals using a remote control will have total control of content while others may not be able to view certain types of content, make unauthorized purchases, play the volume too loud and so forth.
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published what is basically a continuation patent even though it's not identified as such. It's a continuation patent because the patent claims of today's published patent application differs from the granted patent issued just months ago.
Apple legal wants certain aspects of the invention nailed down and protected. Patent claims are used to protect a patent against copy cat competitors and more specifically patent trolls.
In today's continuation patent, Apple focuses on protecting a plurality of operational states. More specifically Apple is protecting two specific states referred to as (1) a Search State, and (2) an Eye-Tracking State that are explained in patent figures 4 to 8.
To review today's continuous patent 20190377410 click here. You could review our original granted report here. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.