Today, Face ID is used to automatically Login to an iPhone & for future Apple Eyewear, Eye Tracking ID may be used
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to a method for automatically identifying at least one user of an eye tracking device by means of the eye tracking device and a corresponding eye tracking device. This patent may have been one of the key patents Apple wanted when acquiring SMI SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH back in June 2017.
Today, users of a modern iPhone are able to login with Face ID. For Apple's future smartglasses (and VR headset) Apple's granted patent advantageously uses eye tracking as a means of being able to automatically identify the user and their respective profiles.
The capturing device of the eye tracking device can for example comprise an imaging device, like a camera or an image sensor, by means of which the user identification data, like certain user characteristics, can be easily captured so that the eye tracking device does not even need additional components to perform this automatic user identification.
Furthermore, by means of this automatic user identification also eye tracking relevant data stored in the corresponding profiles can be automatically derived from this profile after the user has been identified and used for subsequent eye tracking.
This is especially advantageous if multiple users use the same eye tracking device. Different users can change frequently without having to choose their respective settings every time.
The captured user identification data of the at least one user and/or the identification data of the specific user comprise at least one of:
- a face image and/or a face characteristic;
- a body image and/or a body characteristic, especially at least one geometric property of the body;
- eye properties, especially at least one geometric property of at least one eye of the user;
- an eye motion pattern;
- a voice characteristic; and
- information about corrective glasses.
Moreover, the control data, like the calibration parameters, which are stored in the profile besides the identification data, can comprise further very advantageous data, which can be used for eye tracking or for using the eye tracking device. Therefore, it is an especially advantageous embodiment of the invention when the control data relate to at least one of the following:
- the at least one calibration parameter of the specific user;
- an information about corrective glasses of the specific user, especially if the specific user wears corrective glasses or not and/or which refractive power the corrective glasses comprise;
- rights and/or permissions of the specific user, especially that define the range of abilities and/or functions a user identified as a specific user is allowed to perform on a system comprising the eye tracking device;
- a priority of the specific user, especially with respect to another specific user, wherein the priority of the specific user with respect to the other specific user defines, the interaction of which of the specific users' interaction with the system has priority, especially in case of contradicting interactions.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below a schematic illustration of a method for automatically identifying users by an eye tracking device; FIG. 4 a schematic illustration of a display device of an eye tracking device for providing feedback.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below a schematic illustration of a method for automatically identifying users by means of the eye tracking device in combination with implicit calibration.
At least one of the inventors of this invention that came from the acquired SMI SensoMotoric Instruments have remained with Apple. Walter Nistico, who was Head of Engineering/CTO at SMI is now an Engineering Manager – Deep Learning and Computer Vision at Apple.
For a deeper dive into the details of this invention, review Apple's granted patent 11,003,245.