Apple has won a patent for allowing future Apple Glasses to be able to read invisible markers placed on real-world objects
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to future apple glasses being able to read invisible optical markers that are placed on real-world objects. Analysis of the mixed reality marker images or other sensor data may reveal information on device type, device location, device size, device orientation, and other information on a marked device.
Mixed reality systems have head-wearable devices that display computer-generated content overlaid on real-world content. A user may have a cellular telephone or other electronic devices in addition to a head-wearable device. It can be difficult or impossible for mixed reality headsets to recognize the presence of cellular telephones and other such devices in the user's field of view. This may make it difficult or impossible to provide a user with mixed-reality features that take advantage of the presence of such electronic devices. In some situations, the visual appearance of cellular telephones and other electronic devices may not be satisfactory. This is what Apple's invention is to remedy.
According to Apple, a user may use one or more electronic devices. These electronic devices may include cellular telephones, accessories, and other devices. The user may also have a mixed reality head-mounted device. The head-mounted device may have cameras and other sensors that gather information on the location of real-world objects. The head-mounted device may use this information to overlay computer-generated content on top of real-world content.
To ensure accurate recognition of the presence of cellular telephones and other electronic devices in the field-of-view of a head-mounted device in a mixed reality system, cellular telephones and other electronic devices may be provided with optically distinguishable markers (sometimes referred to as optical markers or visual markers).
The markers can be formed from patterned material that facilitates detection of the position of marked devices within the user's environment and/or that helps provide other information (e.g., device identifier information).
If desired, markers may be formed from material that exhibits recognizable spectral responses (sometimes referred to as spectral reflectance codes), retroreflective materials, photoluminescent material, thin-film interference filter layers, and other materials that help a head-mounted device or other device with sensors to gather information on electronic devices in the user's environment. Spectral reflectance codes formed in markers and other marker attributes may be used as device type identifiers, may convey information on the location, shape, orientation, and size of a device, or may be used to convey other information.
Markers may be formed from coatings or other structures. Markers may form coded patterns, patterns that serve to outline a device, and/or other patterns. Thin-film interference filter layers, layers of retroreflective material, thin-film interference filters, colored materials, and/or other types of structures may be used to highlight buttons and other device structures.
Information on markers that is detected by an electronic device such as a head-mounted device may be used in registering computer-generated content to real-world content (e.g., presenting overlays of computer-generated content that are aligned with all or part of a cellular telephone or other device), may be used in identifying which accessories and/or other devices a user has available for use in a system, may be used in coordinating the operation of multiple electronic devices (e.g., to display content across multiple devices, to use one device as a master and one as a slave, to support system functions that depend on the relative orientation of multiple devices, etc.), and/or may be used to facilitate the implementation of other enhanced functionality in a system with multiple electronic devices.
Apple's patent FIG. 11 below is a perspective view of an iPhone with invisible markers in place; FIG. 12 is a top view of a corner portion of an iPad with invisible peripheral markers.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 10,969,600.