Apple won 56 Patents today covering a Compact Folded Zoom Lens, Face ID working with a COVID-19 mask on & more
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 56 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we briefly cover yet another zoom camera related invention using a folded lens or periscope lens. Apple is behind many smartphone makers offering powerful zoom cameras and clearly Apple is working to bring this to future iPhones. Apple was also granted a patent that could allow Face ID to open their iPhones when wearing a COVID-19 mask on. Apple was also granted patent for using sign language in a video conference. 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.
Zoom Lens: Compact Folded Lens System with Three Refractive Lenses
Yesterday Patently Apple posted a patent report titled "Apple updated their advanced 'Folded' Camera Lens System that will one day deliver Superior Zoom Capabilities for iPhone." Today, Apple was granted another patent on this technology titled " Folded lens system with three refractive lenses."
Apple's granted patent covers a compact folded lens system may include three lens elements with refractive power and a light folding element such as a prism to fold the optical axis. Embodiments of the compact folded lens system may be configured to operate with a relatively narrow field of view and a 35 mm equivalent focal length (f.sub.35mm) in the medium to long telephoto range. For example, some embodiments of the compact folded lens system may provide a 35 mm equivalent focal length in the range of 80-200 mm, with less than 6.5 mm of Z-height to fit in a wide variety of portable electronics devices.
Apple's patent FIG. 9 below is a cross-sectional illustration of a compact camera including an example embodiment of a compact folded lens system with three lens elements and a light folding element.
Review Apple's granted patent 11,163,141 for more details here.
Another camera related patent was granted today titled "Lens system with optical actuator." Review granted patent 11,163,096 for more details here.
Periocular Facial Recognition Switching
Apple notes in their granted patent that for authentication using facial recognition, there are occasionally times where all or some of the user's faces is occluded in the image. For example, the user's face may be occluded by a mask, a scarf, the user's hand, or another object. Obviously, this relates to Apple's work-around for user's wearing a COVID-19 mask (and beyond).
Apple's patent covers a facial recognition authentication process operating on a device includes a switch between a full-face facial recognition authentication process and a partial face facial recognition authentication process. The switch may operate by assessing occlusion in an image captured by a camera on the device in response to a user attempting to access the device. The device may operate the full-face facial recognition authentication process when certain facial features of the user (e.g., the eyes, nose, and/or mouth) are not occluded in the image. The device may operate the partial face facial recognition authentication process when these facial features are at least partially occluded.
In some embodiments, the partial face facial recognition authentication process is trained using the same training images as the full-face facial recognition authentication process. The training images may be cropped for use in training the partial face facial recognition authentication process. In some embodiments, enrollment templates (e.g., reference templates) are generated for both the full face facial recognition authentication process and the partial face facial recognition authentication process using the same set of enrollment images. The enrollment images may be full face images. The full-face images may be cropped to generate reference templates for the partial face facial recognition authentication process while the full-face images may be used without cropping to generate reference templates for the full-face facial recognition authentication process.
Apple's patent FIG. 7 below depicts a representation of an embodiment of a process for cropping full face training images for use in a partial face training process.
Review Apple's granted patent 11,163,981 for more details here.
Gesture and Prominence in Video Conferencing
Apple's granted patent covers techniques for visual prominence of participants in a video conference. These visual prominence techniques may find application, for example, in video conferences where communication is primarily visual instead of auditory, such as when a conference participant communicates with sign language or a visual prop. According to these techniques, an indication of a participant's visual prominence in a video conference may be generated, a video stream of the participant may be encoded, and the encoded video stream may be transmitted along with the visual prominence indication to a receiving device in the video conference. These techniques may provide more effective visual communication amongst the participants of a video conference.
Review Apple's granted patent 11,165,989 for more details here.
The Remaining Patents Granted to Apple Today