Apple advances their invention relating to a possible future iMac with multiple Projectors that could project content onto walls & more
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published an extension to an Apple patent that relates to a possible future iMac that includes projectors on the rear wall or other portions of the device that may project images onto nearby surfaces. Sensors such as gaze detection sensors, three-dimensional image sensors, cameras, and other components may operate through housing walls. Apple's patent extension reveals new aspects of the invention. Once such addition is adding a wireless charging coil to the iMac's stand.
Apple's patent covers control circuitry that may display images on the display and may use projectors to display images onto nearby surfaces using captured images, gaze detection information, and other information from input-output devices.
The electronic device, illustrated as an iMac-like device, may include wireless circuitry. The wireless circuitry may be located in the housing or the stand for the housing and may be used in transmitting or receiving wireless power and/or wireless communications signals.
The stand may include a glass layer, clear polymer layer, other transparent material and/or other material. A display, wireless circuitry, or other components may operate through the transparent material and/or other materials of the stand.
Leaping to the heart of the granted patent we see patent FIG. 8 below which is a rear perspective view of an iMac (device #10). The rear portion #20R of the iMac may have windows (e.g., portions that are not covered by ink or other opaque masking material) such as a window in area #44.
A camera (e.g., a digital image sensor and lens) may be mounted under a window in area #44 so that images may be captured of objects located to the rear of the iMac. The cameras may operate at visible wavelengths, infrared wavelengths, and/or ultraviolet wavelengths.
You could review more of this granted patent here. Today, the U.S. Patent Office published Apple's patent extension that adds new information or specifics to advance or protect their initial invention as follows.
A computer, comprising: a housing having a front housing wall, an opposing rear housing wall, and sidewalls that extend from the front housing wall to the rear housing wall, wherein the rear housing wall and the sidewalls comprise transparent layers; a stand configured to support the housing above a support surface; a first display configured to display first images through the front housing wall; a second display configured to display second images through the rear housing wall; and a third display configured to display third images through one of the sidewalls.
Wherein The rear housing wall of the computer/iMac comprises a glass layer that covers a rear surface of the housing, the computer further comprises a magnetic charging structure that is configured to attach an external item to the glass layer. Wherein the magnetic charging structure is configured to receive wireless power from the external item through the glass layer.
The computer/iMac further comprises a gaze tracking sensor, wherein the images of the objects behind the housing are configured to be displayed based on measurements of the gaze tracking sensor.
The computer/iMac further comprises a wireless power coil in the stand.
The computer/iMac further comprises a projector in the housing configured to project diffuse light having a color that matches at least one color in the first images.
A portion of the computer/iMac is formed from glass and forms a lens that overlaps the projector.
The computer/iMac further comprises a three-dimensional image sensor configured to generate three-dimensional maps of shapes of external objects; and a projector in the housing, wherein the projector projects images onto the external objects, wherein the images are pre-distorted based on the three-dimensional maps of the shapes of the external objects.
The computer/iMac further comprises a gaze tracking system at the front, wherein locations of the external objects are configured to be determined based on measurements from the gaze tracking system, and the images are configured to be displayed on the display based on the locations of the external objects.
A portion of the rear housing wall of the computer/iMac forms a lens that overlaps the camera. The lens comprises a convex lens.
For more details on the patent and additional patent claims just added, review Apple's patent application number 20230205271.