Today Apple won 49 patents that cover a 360° Camera System for Apple Vision Pro, 3D Torso Mapping and more
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 49 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In this particular report we briefly cover a static & removable 360° camera system for Vision Pro devices, a 3D torso mapping system for future avatars/Memojis 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.
A Possible Future Head-Mounted Display
Apple’s patented invention relates to future head-mounted displays with cameras for observing the environment. More specifically, the cameras are each coupled to one of the display unit or the head support. The cameras have camera fields of view that overlap horizontally to cooperatively provide the head-mounted display with a head-mounted display field of view of 360 degrees horizontal.
The cameras may be positioned on top and the sides of the user’s head. The head-mounted display field of view of 360 degrees horizontal may extend around the head of the user. One or more of the cameras may be a support-mounted camera that is coupled to the head support. The head support may extend around the head of the user. One or more of the cameras may be a display-mounted camera that is coupled to the display unit.
Apple’s patent FIG. 3 below illustrates a head-mounted display that includes eight cameras. A first subset of the cameras is coupled to the display unit #110 (e.g., three as shown), while a second subset of the cameras is coupled to a head support #130 (e.g., five as shown). Those of the cameras that are coupled to the display unit #110 (may be referred to as display-mounted cameras #322. Those of the cameras that are coupled to the head support (i.e., of the second subset) may be referred to as support-mounted cameras #324.
The cameras (#322 & #324) are positioned evenly around the head of the user (i.e., at 45-degree intervals), oriented to face outward the head of the user at 45 degrees relative to adjacent ones of the cameras #322, #324, and have horizontal camera fields of view of 90 degrees that are indicated by dashed arrows emanating therefrom.
Cameras 322 & 324 combined form the HMD field of view of 360 degrees horizontally.
In Apple’s patent FIG. 8 below we see a head-mounted display (HMD #800) is a variation wherein it includes cameras that are removable camera modules (#823 and 825).
Also, in Patent FIG. 1A (not shown), Apple illustrates one camera could reside at the top of the user’s head via a strap ti on an over-head strap that connects to the head support system.
Apple’s next-gen HMD camera system will provide users with the ability to capture amazing 360 degree photos and more importantly, stunning 360 degree videos that will deliver an all-new experience for holiday goers.
Apple’s patent is deadly focused on the mechanics of the system with really no information on the marketing angle they may take. One could imagine such a feature being of assistance to soldiers on the battlefield, taking real estate tours of homes the user is interested in and so forth. Yet for now, it’s impossible to know what applications Apple has on their roadmap for such a camera system. Perhaps over time more patents will surface that introduce a few end-use scenarios for such a system.
For more details on this invention, review Apple’s granted patent #11800231.
A Few other Granted Patents of Interest published Today
- Patent 11796872: Optical Systems with Pixel Shifting structures for HMDs
- Patent 11796312: Body Volume/shape Determination Using Handheld Devices (building a 3-D map of the user's torso. Think torso of your Avatar).
Apple’s patent FIGS. 5A and 5B above illustrate an example user's body showing a set of measured 3-D points and a set of triangular surfaces used for body volume and/or shape determination.
This Week's Remaining Granted Patents