Apple was granted 66 Patents today covering Multi-User Eye Tracking, Optical Systems for future Smartglasses and more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 66 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we briefly cover two patents. The first covers multi-user eye tracking that may be applied to Apple TV, game playing, FaceTime conferencing and more. The second patent covers an optical system for future Apple smartglasses. And as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Multi-User Eye Tracking and Eye Tracking Device
Apple's newly granted patent was inherited when they acquired SMI SensoMotoric Instruments back in 2017. The inventors make the case that this is a first of its kind multi-user eye tracking system.
The patent notes that "In a TV scenario multiple people sit in front of the display. Each individual might want to change the currently active settings of the TV, such as the channel, volume etc. With a multiuser eye tracking system, like the eye tracking device according to this invention it is possible to realize a TV that enables each user to control all or a subset of the settings.
Also, online call systems like skype can add a feature to show where a person in a phone conference is looking. This can be used for creating interest, but is can also be used for other purposes, such as setting the volume specifically on the person that has the attention of the user and reducing the volume for others.
With regard to the use in surgery rooms, in a surgery setting multiple doctors and assistants might require different information from a screen. Using multi-gaze tracking any individual can set what is on a screen or part of a screen.
Further use cases for multiuser eye tracking are for example games. In the past many games used to be played with multiple people sitting at the keyboard triggering actions in the game using different keys. Instead of two people using the same keyboard, it will be possible to control their characters using gaze instead. The idea of games with multiuser eye tracking can be particularly interesting for social evenings in an assistive environment. This would allow playing software versions of board games such as chess and checkers, or monopoly and risk as two more complex examples by maintaining the social element of games evening.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 below a schematic illustration of an image captured by the eye tracking device; FIG. 3 a schematic illustration of a method for operating an eye tracking device for multiuser eye tracking.
(Click on image to Enlarge)
For more details review Apple's granted patent 11,009,945. One of the inventors on the patent, originally from SMI SensoMotoric Instruments, Walter Nistico, is now an Engineering Manager, Deep Learning and Computer Vision at Apple.
Optical Systems for Mixed Reality Glasses
Apple has been granted a patent for Optical Systems relating to mixed reality glasses. A head-mounted device such as a pair of virtual reality or mixed reality glasses may have a display for displaying images for a user. An optical system can be used to direct image light from the display to the eyes of a user.
The process of using an optical system to provide images from a display to the eyes of a user in a head-mounted device has the potential to introduce image distortion. Challenges may also arise in forming an optical system that is sufficiently compact to wear on the head of a user. If care is not taken, an optical system for an electronic device may be overly bulky and may not exhibit satisfactory optical performance.
To review Apple's solution, review Apple's granted patent 11,009,707 for details.
The Remaining Patents Granted to Apple Today