The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 32 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover an invention that Apple's Israeli PrimeSense team invented. The invention covers a pattern projector embedded into an iOS device like an iPhone that is able to interpret a user's hand gestures and thereby control game play as if their hand were an in-air joy stick or controller.
Granted Patent: Pattern Projector
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to optical systems, and specifically to pattern projectors.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 noted above is a schematic, pictorial illustration of a system (#20) for 3D optical mapping. The system comprises a pattern projector (#18) which generates and projects a pattern light beam through an aperture (#29) at an object such as a hand (#26) and a light detection unit (#28), which collects light reflected from the object (in this case a hand).
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 object 26.
The term "3D map" refers to a set of 3D coordinates representing the surface of the object. The derivation of such a map based on image data is referred to herein as "3D mapping" or equivalently, "3D reconstruction."
Furthermore, the system can be present in a very compact unit, for example being included in a mobile station (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and/or a portable computer such as a Mac.
The 3D map that is generated by the controller may be used for a wide range of different purposes. For example, the map may be sent to an output device, such as a display (not shown), which shows a pseudo-3D image of the object. In the example shown in FIG. 1, a user's hand or body may be used to provide a gesture-based user interface, in which user movements detected by means of system control an interactive computer application, such as a game, in place of tactile interface elements such as a mouse, joystick or other accessory.
Apple's granted patent 9,400,177 was last filed in Q2 2015 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
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