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Apple Granted 30 Patents Today Covering Motion-Based Device Operations, Gradient Refractive Index Camera Optics & More

Apple Granted a Patent for a Powerful Camera Flash Accessory

20. Granted Patents - LARGE

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 30 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's invention and granted patent covering an illumination accessory supporting the iPhone camera. Apple makes a case as to why a remote illumination system would provide users with superior camera shots over those with integrated flashes. Whether this project is still viable or has passed its time is unknown at this time.


Granted Patent: Illumination System


Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to using multiple strobes to provide lighting for a scene to be captured by a camera.


Apple notes that many cameras include a strobe or flash for capturing photographs or images in low light. The range of these integrated flashes may be limited. For example, a typical flash may have a light intensity that decreases by a square of the distance from the source. Use of these integrated flashes may lead to photographs having harsh foreground lighting but poor or no background lighting since the flash originates from the camera and may cast strong shadows as light intensity decreases with a square of the distance from the camera. Additionally, corners of a captured image may have a significant decrease in intensity as the width of the flash may be limited.


Additionally, many photographs taken by cameras having an integrated flash may show the "red-eye" phenomenon where the subject's eyes appear red. This occurs because the flash is typically located near a lens of the camera, and thus a person or animal may be facing the flash as the image is taken. Red-eye reflections are typically due to light from the flash being focused straight on a person or animal and, due to the high frequency of the flash, the eye does not have time to close. This results in light from the flash being reflected off a retina of the person or animal's eye; this reflected light is then captured by the camera. Increasing a separation between the flash and the lens can decrease the occurrence of red-eye reflections. However, in small cameras or devices (e.g., smart phones with an integrated camera) this may be difficult to achieve.


Apple's patent FIG. 10 noted below is a rear perspective view of a camera that includes a remote light source to assist in illuminating a scene in a superior manner than a flash near a camera lens.


2AFinal remote flash accessory

Apple credits Richard Baer as the sole inventor of granted patent 8,953,094 which was originally filed in Q4 2011 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.


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