Apple wins a patent relating to a 'Scene Camera' system for a future HMD device that will bring vivid imagery directly to the user's eyes
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to scene cameras that use a series of mirrors that is able to bring a scene in front of the HMD closer to the user's eyes to achieve a more accurate representation of the scene.
The simulated environments of virtual and mixed reality systems may be utilized to provide an interactive user experience for multiple applications, such as applications that add virtual content to a real-time view of the viewer's environment, applications that generate 3D virtual worlds, interacting with virtual training environments, gaming, remotely controlling drones or other mechanical systems, viewing digital media content, interacting with the Internet, exploring virtual landscapes or environments, or the like.
To make simulated or augmented environments as realistic as possible, Apple's invention focuses on what is known in the art as scene cameras.
According to Apple, the scene cameras may, for example, be used in video see-through devices in mixed reality (MR) or virtual reality (VR) systems.
In conventional video see-through devices, one or more scene cameras may be mounted at the front of the device. However, these scene cameras typically don't align with a user's actual Point Of View (POV). Apple's scene cameras will at the very least partially correct the POV of the cameras to more closely match the POV of a user by imaging the entrance pupils of the cameras at a location closer to the user's eyes.
Apple's scene camera system may include mirrors and cameras that capture light from the scene reflected by the mirrors. By using the mirrors to reflect the light, the cameras' entrance pupils are imaged at a location closer to a user's eyes to achieve a more accurate representation of the perspective of the user.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an array of cameras with entrance pupils at or near a user's eye; FIG. 4 illustrates using curved mirrors in a scene camera system; FIG. 5 illustrates using segmented mirrors in a scene camera system, according to some embodiments.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 above is a high-level flowchart of a method of operation for a scene camera system.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,187,914 titled 'Mirror-based Scene Cameras.'
Some of Apple Inventors
Noah Bedard: Prototyping Engineer; Came to Apple via Ricoh Innovations as Senior Research Scientist
Branko Petljanski: Engineering Manager, Incubation; Came to Apple via Panavision
Eddie Huo: Product Design Engineer; designed mechanical systems in multiple iPhone models from architectural concepts to mass production.
Brett Miller: Engineering Manager, Camera Incubation; Came to Apple via Intel, Perceptual Computing.