The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 39 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover the most important patent of the day that covers scanning depth engine technology that ended up in Apple's iPhone X. Our report also covers a series of design patents issued to Apple today and wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple today.
Granted Patent: Scanning Depth Engine
Apple's newly granted patent 9,898,074 covers their invention related to methods and devices for projection and capture of optical radiation, and particularly to optical 3D mapping. The mapping apparatus includes a transmitter, which is configured to emit a beam including pulses of light, and a scanner, which is configured to scan the beam, within a predefined scan range, over a scene.
A receiver is configured to receive the light reflected from the scene and to generate an output indicative of a time of flight of the pulses to and from points in the scene. A processor is coupled to control the scanner so as to cause the beam to scan over a selected window within the scan range and to process the output of the receiver so as to generate a 3D map of a part of the scene that is within the selected window.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 presented below illustrates a schematic, pictorial illustration of a depth mapping system; FIG. 2 is a block diagram that schematically shows functional components of a depth engine; and FIG. 4 is a schematic, pictorial illustration of a MEMS scanner.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 presented below is from a related patent report that we posted in November 2017 titled "Another Face ID related Projection Patent comes to Light covering Integrated Photonics." It went one step further than the same image presented in today's granted patent noted above. In figure 6 below we're able to see the projected dots. The iPhone X's TrueDepth Camera includes a dot projector as noted in our cover graphic.
Apple's granted patent was originally filed in Q1 2017 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent presents various sections titled as follows:
Optical Scanning Head
Beam Transmitters and Modules Based on Surface Emitters, and
Apple Granted Design Patents
Apple was granted 5 design patents today as presented below, plus D810,761 for a "Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface."
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Making Comments on our Site: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit any comments. Those using abusive language or behavior will result in being blacklisted on Disqus.