In late-March Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Patent Covers In-Air Gesturing for Macs & iDevices as Google, Samsung and Microsoft race to bring this to Market." Then in early June we posted another report titled "Google is reportedly set to introduce a new In-Air Gesturing System for the Pixel 4 called "Aware" We're now learning that Google's next-gen Pixel 4 will in fact enable two new features - Motion Sense and face unlock - helping you to get things done without having to touch it.
In March Patently Mobile posted a report titled "Google wins Second Radar Sensing Patent that supports Future Chromebook & Pixel Devices using an In-Air Gesturing Feature." Google introduced Project Soli covering advanced in-air gesturing back in 2015.
As for 3D Face Recognition, the U.S. Patent Office published a patent application on this subject matter last month.
Google's patent covered techniques, methods, systems, and other mechanisms for provision of a dual-band stereo depth-sensing system. An example use of such a system is in a mobile computing device that utilizes the system to determine 3-D facial features of a person for facial recognition or face-tracking purposes.
A depth-sensing system may work by emitting electromagnetic radiation (EMR) at a particular wavelength, e.g., a wavelength corresponding to infrared light, on to a scene and using sensors that capture EMR that reflects from objects in the scene to determine a depth map of the scene. A scene may refer to what is in a field of view from the perspective of the sensors of the depth-sensing system.
For example, a stereo depth-sensing system may emit EMR at a wavelength of 850 nm, sense reflections of the emitted EMR off one or more physical objects using two sensors, and combine the sensed reflections from the two sensors into a depth map. A depth map generated by a depth-sensing system may portray distance of portions of the scene from the depth-sensing system.
Sensors of a depth-sensing system may be more sensitive to a particular wavelength and thus able to more accurately sense depth using EMR at that particular wavelength. However, the sensors may also be unable to distinguish emitted EMR that is then reflected off objects and EMR that are ambient to an environment. Accordingly, accuracy of a depth-sensing system may depend on environmental conditions. For example, when no sunlight is present, a depth-sensing system using EMR at a wavelength of 850 nm may produce more accurate results than a depth-sensing system using EMR at a wavelength of 940 nm. However, when sunlight is present, a depth-sensing system using EMR at a wavelength of 850 nm may produce less accurate results than a depth-sensing system using EMR at a wavelength of 940 nm.
Google's patent FIGS. 1 and 2 below are conceptual diagrams of a dual-band stereo depth-sensing system.
Google's 3D Face ID patent was filed in December 2017 and published in June 2019 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Will Apple beat Google to market with In-Air gesturing in September or will Google's Pixel 4 get the jump on Apple's iPhones? Only time will tell.
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