On June 23, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's patent application titled "Image Capture Device Having Tilt and/or Perspective Correction. Apple's patent generally relates to image capture devices in electronic systems, and more particularly to image capture devices having the ability to correct for tilt and/or perspective distortion. Although it's not the most interesting patent application of the year, there was definitely a hint of camera watch that could use Apple's new camera technology that was worth noting. In other IP News, the application that Apple made last summer covering their stunning glass structured Apple Store is about to officially get trademarked. It's definitely the coolest retail store design that I've ever seen, and I think that most would agree.
Apple's Patent Discusses the Complications & Solutions for Correcting Crooked Photos.
Electronic devices are ubiquitous in society and could be found in everything from wristwatches to computers. Many electronic devices now have integrated image capture devices, and so users of these electronic devices now have the ability to take pictures on an impromptu basis. For example, in the event that a user does not have a camera in their possession but does have a cell phone or other personal media device that includes an integrated image capture device, then the user may be able to take a picture instead of foregoing the opportunity to take the picture altogether. While the ability to take pictures using these electronic devices may be advantageous, it is often difficult for the user to steady these electronic devices and/or keep them level while taking the picture. This lack of ability to steady the electronic devices and/or keep them level while taking the picture often results in distortion in the picture being tilted and/or having a perspective that is less pleasing to the user.
In fact, tilted pictures and/or pictures with an incorrect perspective may also be taken from cameras. For example, a user may not have a tripod when taking a picture with a camera and so the user may take a picture at an angle. Regardless of whether a distorted picture is produced using a camera or an electronic device having an integrated image capture device, it is often corrected through post-processing. Unfortunately, this post-processing may require sophisticated image processing software and/or a substantial amount of involvement by the user to correct the distortion.
Apple's patent application discusses methods and apparatuses that are to correct or compensate for tilt and/or perspective distortion generally associated with iOS device cameras. In some embodiments, the method may include reading an orientation measurement associated with a relative position of an image capture device with respect to an object, determining if the orientation measurement is less than a threshold, and, in the event that the orientation measurement is less than the threshold, correcting an image obtained by the image capture device.
I don't happen to be a camera buff, yet that is. Do I want straight photos? Yes, of course. Do I care how Apple does it on my iPod touch or iPhone? No. But for those of you who do care and want to know all of the details of Apple's solution, then you should check out patent application 20110149094 (here's a temporary 48 hour link)
But there was one interesting tid-bit worth noting in this patent and it reads as follows:
"…while embodiments disclosed herein may focus on certain portable electronic devices, such as cameras or cell phones, it should be appreciated that the concepts disclosed herein equally apply to other portable electronic devices that incorporate integrated cameras. For example, the concepts disclosed herein may be employed in wristwatches with integrated cameras."
This is encouraging as it may indicate that there's really an iPod nano with a camera if not a spin-off watch in the future – just as some have rumored for some time now. It also supports another Apple patent application as well.
Today's published patent application from Apple was originally filed in Q4 2009 by inventors Jason Chen, Brandon Dean, and David Simon.
In other IP News
In other IP News today, Apple filed for the "Newsstand" trademark in Canada under application 1530568 and within the next 30 days will have their Glass Structured Apple Store design officially trademarked. The trademark was published in the US Patent and Trademark's Official Trademark Gazette on June 21, 2011.
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