Apple Wins Patent for Next-Gen HomePod with Camera System that includes Gaze Controls & Long-Range Face ID
Over the weekend Patently Apple posted an IP report titled "Apple's Patent covering the new HomePod mini's ability to Recognized the Voices of Household Members has Surfaced." Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent for a next-gen HomePod (mini) that will come with a built-in camera system. In Sunday's report we illustrated how Siri was able to ID a user in order to provide them with personal data or preferences. In Apple's granted patent, Apple goes one step further by adding the camera system with gaze controls and long-range Face ID.
The added cameras are able to capture a user's eyes and gaze directions when requesting Siri to perform a task such as turning on a very specific lamp in a room that has multiple lamps, for instance, as presented in the patent figures below.
With next-gen cameras in HomePod mini, the responses to a user will be personal with Siri by acknowledging that it's "Jane" who made the request. This indicates that Apple's next-gen TrueDepth camera used on this future HomePod will be able to use Face ID at a distance instead of the current version on iPhones that has a limited range.
Apple's granted patent notes that the device (HomePod mini) could include one or more depth camera sensors that receives data from the environment to create a three-dimensional model of an object (e.g., a face) within a scene from a viewpoint (e.g., a depth camera sensor) - which translates to a longer-range version of the depth camera for Face ID.
For more on this, review our original patent application report from April 2020 for more details and more patent figures or review granted patent 10,860,096.