Apple won 50 Patents yesterday that covered Interactive Motion-Based Eye Tracking for Glasses, HMDs and PC's+
Yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 50 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In this particular report we briefly cover and eye tracking invention along with a couple of design patents, 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.
Interactive Motion-Based Eye Tracking
Apple acquired SMI SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH in 2017 for their expertise with smartglasses and eye-tracking technologies. Below is a video showing their 2015 version of their smartglasses.
Yesterday Apple was granted a patent for one of their acquired eye-tracking patents from SMI SensoMotoric Instruments GmbH. The company's top engineer, Walter Nistico, is now with Apple as an Engineering Manager, Deep Learning and Computer Vision Team.
The patent notes that eye tracking devices are configured to track persons, especially their eyes, their point of regard or gaze direction. As certain properties of human eyes are different from person to person, usually a calibration procedure is performed to calibrate the eye tracking device, so that the accuracy of the determined gaze or gaze point can be improved.
The main advantage of this invention is, that the execution of the calibration procedure does not follow a fixed procedure but instead can be adapted in dependency of at least one determined control parameter. Especially, this is based on the finding that the captured gaze data provide information, which advantageously can be used to control the execution of the calibration procedure to provide better adaption, especially adaption to the properties and capabilities of the user performing the calibration.
Generally, the system comprises an eye tracking device and a processing unit, which may or may not be included within the eye tracking device, and which controls the stimulus and performs all the necessary computations for the calibration. Further, the system comprises means to show the calibration stimulus to a user in form of the display device, which can be implemented for example through a monitor screen or a head mounted display or a virtual reality headset, etc.
In particular, the system can be implemented as a head mounted system comprising the eye tracking device, which comprises one or more cameras, which are integrated in the head mounted system. This can be for example in the form of glasses, or a helmet, or any other fixture on a user's head.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below shows a schematic illustration of an eye tracking system (#10), which is configured as a remote system according to a first embodiment of the invention.
The eye tracking system comprises an eye tracking device (#12), which comprises an imaging device which is configured as at least one camera (#14) and capable of capturing images of at least one eye (#16) of a user (#18).
Moreover, the eye tracking system 10 comprises a display device (#20), which is configured as a monitor, and which provides in this example a 2D display area 22. Furthermore, the eye tracking system comprises a processing unit #24, which can be integrated into the display device or integrated into the eye tracker, or also be configured as a separate entity as a standalone processing unit and be communicatively coupled to the display device to control the display device and to the eye tracker to analyze the captured images.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 above shows a schematic illustration of another example of an eye tracking system, which is configured as a head mounted system according to an embodiment of the invention. Especially the eye tracking system is implemented in form of augmented reality or virtual reality glasses.
For deeper details, review Apple's granted patent 11,320,904. This is Apple's second granted patent for this invention that adds an additional 20 patent claims.
Key Design Patents Granted
The Remaining Patents Granted to Apple Tuesday