Apple has Won a Patent for Devices using a 'Circular Radar-Antenna Array' that Introduces a new UI that could recognize Hand Gestures +
Earlier this morning Patently Apple posted a report titled " Apple has been granted a patent for a Hand Gesturing User Interface that could extend to Finger Gesturing & Beyond." While that patent focused on identifying hand gestures using a coherent light source and a generator of a random speckle pattern, much like the system behind Face ID.
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also granted Apple a patent that relates to radar measurements by an electronic device, and techniques for performing radar measurements using an electronic device having an array of radar transmit antennas and receive antennas with a 360.degree. field of view. The system also recognizes hand gestures, but this time the system using circular radar to do so.
Technically speaking, Apple's patent covers an electronic device that performs radar measurements. The electronic device will include M separate radar transmitters and N separate radar receivers that are co-located in the electronic device, where the M radar transmitters and the N radar receivers are arranged in a circular architecture that provides 360.degree coverage in a horizontal plane, and where M and N are integers. Moreover, the N radar receivers can be synchronized using a clock signal. During operation, subsets of the M radar transmitters sequentially transmit radar signals and, when a given subset of the M radar transmitters is transmitting, at least a subset of the N radar receivers performs radar measurements.
By determining the location and/or the identity of the individual, the measurement techniques may facilitate improved operation of the electronic device. For example, these capabilities may allow the electronic device to continuously, or periodically, monitor the environment and/or the individual, including any commands provided by the individual (such as spoken commands and/or gestures).
In this way, the capabilities of the electronic device may facilitate a user interface that responds to the individual without requiring that the individual memorize predefined keywords or commands.
Additionally, based at least in part on the determined location, electronic device 110 may directionally listen for spoken commands from the individual or may be able to determine when the individual is providing a command for electronic device (e.g., by detecting a gesture or using the measured radar signals).
This may allow the individual to control the electronic device without using keywords, such as a wake word to activate electronic device. Instead, the electronic device may provide an ever-present sensing capability. In some embodiments, the determined vital sign or the medical condition of the individual facilitates an additional service or application.
In some embodiments, the electronic device could be a smartphone, a laptop computer, a notebook computer, a tablet, a wireless speaker (HomePod mini), an IoT device, a smart appliance, a set-top box, a security device, or another such electronic device).
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a block diagram illustrating an example of an electronic device performing radar measurements; FIG. 8 is a drawing illustrating an example of a circular architecture with 16 radar transmitters and 16 radar receivers in the electronic device of FIG. 1.
Apple's patent FIG. 9 below is a drawing illustrating another example of circular beamforming in the electronic device of FIG. 1.
This is an interesting patent and for the finer details, review Apple's granted patent 10,928,498.