Along with Apple's acquisition of PrimeSense they gained several granted patents covering 3D mapping and specialty projectors. Apple's latest granted patent for 3D scanner/projectors was issued just last week. Today, a new patent application from Apple's PrimeSense team came for a 3D mapping optical system that could be used in computer vision, automation and optical image processing.
In Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted below we're able to see a schematic, pictorial illustration of a system (#20) for 3D optical mapping which comprises a pattern projector (#18) which generates and projects a pattern light beam through an aperture (#29) at an object (#26) which in this case is a hand of a user of the system, and a light detection unit (#28), which collects light reflected from the object.
A controller (#31) implemented, for example, on one or more processors, processes image data generated by light detection unit in order to reconstruct a 3D map of an object. The term "3D map" refers to a set of 3D coordinates representing the surface of the object and could also be known as a "3D reconstruction." The Controller computes the 3D coordinates of points on the surface of the object by triangulation, based on the transverse shifts of spots in an image of the pattern that is projected onto the object.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 noted above is a schematic diagram of the elements of a pattern projector including a diffractive optical element (DOE); FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of the elements of a pattern projector including a projection lens; FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of a spherical imaging device.
Apple credits Benny Pesach as the sole inventor of patent application 20150226545 which was filed in Q2 2015. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Apple now owns a series of interrelated 3D scanner/projector patents that go beyond gaming as noted below:
One: Apple Wins Patent for a Photonics Optical Projection Module
Two: Apple Granted a 3D Camera Patent Focused on Time-Coded Illumination
Three: Apple Wins Patent for a Projector System Designed for Controlling Games on iDevices via Gestures
Four: Apple Invents a Highly Advanced Air-Gesturing System for Future iDevices and Beyond
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