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Apple won 66 patents today covering Tamper-Resistant Camera Indicators for Macs, Personalized Headphone EQ & more

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Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 66 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In this particular report we cover two patents. The first covers tamper-resistant camera indicators primarily on Macs. The second covers personalized headphone equalizers for AirPods Max, AirPods, future HMD, smartglasses and more. 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 this week.

Tamper-Resistant Camera Indicators For Macs+

In Apple's patent background they note that electronic devices such as desktop computers, laptop computers, smartphones, and tablet computers are often provided with cameras. Electronic devices with cameras can include an indicator light to indicate when the camera is recording, to alert the user and/or others in the vicinity of the camera that they may be being recorded. However, conventional devices having cameras and indicator lights can be vulnerable to tampering to disable the indicator light, which can expose the user or others to being recorded without notification.

Apple's granted patent covers systems, devices, and methods for prevention of masking, disabling, destroying, and/or otherwise tampering with a visual indicator that a camera is recording or otherwise capturing images or other information. In one or more implementations, a light sensor is provided in close proximity to a visual indicator (e.g., a light source such as a light-emitting diode (LED) configured as an indicator light for the camera) and coupled to the camera, such that insufficient light received by the light sensor disables the camera. In this way, if the indicator light is covered, masked, or damaged (e.g., in an attempt to allow the camera to record and/or capture other information such as images, sound, depth or other information without an indication of recording by the indicator light), the light sensor resultantly disables operation of the camera.

In accordance with one or more implementations, the electronic device of FIG. 1 below implements one or more components and/or processes as described in the patent filing to prevent physical and/or electronic attempts to operate camera without the operation of a corresponding indicator light.

More specifically, the electronic device includes a light sensor #118 that may be disposed adjacent to the light source #116 and arranged to receive light from the external environment of electronic device. Light source #118 may be configured to disable the camera #105 if, for example, an amount of light received by the light sensor is below a threshold.

For example, in one or more implementations, the light source #116 and the light sensor #118 are co-located within the MacBook (or device) in sufficient proximity that masking or destroying the light source #116 (e.g., to prevent the projection of the light out of the housing #106) correspondingly masks or destroys the light sensor #118.

2 tamper proof camer indicator light

Apple's patent FIG. 9 above Apple presents a flow chart of an example process for operating an electronic device having a camera, a light source, and a light sensor.

For more on Apple's granted patent #US 11595559 B2, click here.

Personalized Headphone EQ Based On Headphone Properties and User Geometry

The second granted patent covered in this report covers audio processing for a headworn device that could include obtaining ear geometry of a user.

Apple notes that equalization filters could be used to increase or attenuate levels of different frequencies in an audio signal. The audio signal can be used to drive speakers of a headworn speaker device. Headworn speaker devices include AirPods Max, AirPods, Head Mounted Display (HMD) devices, smartglasses (e.g., located on the temples or temple tips of the eyeglasses).

n audio systems, accurate control of sound delivered to a listener's ear drum is desirable. This is the case for a range of audio applications, from music playback to the creation of 3D virtual audio. Sound is modified as it travels from its point of origin to the user's ear canal, including modification effects caused by the user's unique ear geometry. Thus, when a subject wears headworn speaker devices, sound traveling from the speaker to the entrance of the ear canal can be effected by the presence and geometry of the user's ear (e.g., the pinna and arrangement of pinna on user's head) and by geometry of the headworn speaker device.

Audio that already contains pinna cues (e.g., spatialized audio) can create a double-pinna effect when heard with an over-ear, on-ear, or extra—aural speaker device, because additional pinna cues of the listener are added when the sound travels from the speaker of the device to the user's ears. A tailored EQ filter profile can compensate for (e.g. remove or substantially reduce) the latter pinna cues, thereby improving control of the audio delivered to the user's ears.

In the case where audio does not contain pinna cues, but is delivered through an in-ear speaker device, the audio can sound unnatural because it is lacking pinna cues that the user is accustomed to. Thus, a tailored EQ filter profile can be used to spectrally shape the audio to add pinna cues of the listener's ears so that the audio experience feels natural.

A generic compensation equalizer (EQ) can be used to compensate for (e.g., remove or substantially reduce) the double pinna effect, or to add a pinna effect for a natural sound. A generic compensation EQ profile can be made by averaging the frequency responses across a large number of subjects but this only compensates for general trends (or an ‘average’ user) and, thus, a generic compensation EQ filter is not tailored to the individual's unique ear shape.

Apple's patent FIG. 1 presents a process for processing audio with a customized EQ filter profile for a headworn device; FIG. 3, a user 30 is shown wearing an over-ear headphone set 28. The headset is shown having a speaker 26 that is driven by an audio signal to produce sound.  

3 Apple Headphone patent

Apple's patent FIG. 2 above illustrates an audio processing system #50 that could perform the process described in FIG. 1; At block 52, an image of a user can be generated by an image capture device (e.g., a depth scanner, camera, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or combinations thereof). At block 54, a three dimensional user geometry model can be generated based on the captured image. The model can include the user's ear geometry (e.g., the pinna geometry, location of the ear canal) and head geometry. For example, image-based model and rendering (IBMR) methods can construct the model based on a set of images of the user. Other three dimensional modeling techniques can be used to construct the model based on the captured image.

A model of a headphone set (including speaker) can be generated or retrieved at block 56. The model can include three dimensional geometry of the headphone set, for example, dimensions, size and shape; and speaker properties of the speaker of the headphone set. 

Apple's patent FIG. 4 above shows the frequency response of sound at ear canal entrance of three different subjects.

For more details, review Apple's granted patent US 11595754 B1.

Today’s Remaining Granted Patents



10.52FX - Granted Patent Bar


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