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Apple reveals their work on a Dynamic Foveated Pipeline that Renders and Processes VR Headset images

1 HMD - cover - rendition of apple prototype - Copy

 

Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to systems, methods, and devices for rendering images for simulated reality with a varying amount of detail. More specifically, methods for processing an image in a warped space.

 

Apple's patent appears to have been one that they may have inherited initially when they acquired Metaio, leaders in Augmented Reality, hologram technologies and Thermal Touch. The lead inventor is noted as being Tobias Eble, Apple's Software Development Manager that came to Apple via the Metaio acquisition where he was the Director of Mobile development.  Another sign it was a Metaio patent is that Apple cancelled the entire set of 34 original patent claims and replaced them with 19 new patent claims without the patent being a continuation patent. And thirdly, in most Metaio patents, they emphasize the term "Simulated Reality" over the terms AR or VR that Apple uses in their original patents on this subject matter.

 

In general, this latest patent application covers devices, systems, and methods for processing an image in a warped space. The method includes receiving a warped image representing simulated reality (SR) content to be displayed in a display space, the warped image having a plurality of pixels at respective locations uniformly spaced in a grid pattern in a warped space, wherein the plurality of pixels are respectively associated with a plurality of respective pixel values and a plurality of respective scaling factors indicating a plurality of respective resolutions at a plurality of respective locations in the display space.

 

The method includes processing the warped image in the warped space based on the plurality of respective scaling factors to generate a processed warped image and transmitting the processed warped image.

 

Various implementations disclosed herein include devices, systems, and methods for processing an image based on a plurality of scaling factors. In one implementation, a method includes receiving a warped image representing simulated reality (SR) content, the warped image having a plurality of pixels at respective locations uniformly spaced in a grid pattern in a warped space, wherein the plurality of pixels are respectively associated with a plurality of respective pixel values and a plurality of respective scaling factors indicating a plurality of respective resolutions at a plurality of respective locations of the SR content.

 

The method includes processing the warped image based on the plurality of respective scaling factors to generate a processed warped image and transmitting the processed warped image.

 

Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a block diagram of an example operating environment #100 which includes a controller #110 and a head-mounted device (HMD) #120. In some implementations, the functionalities of the controller are provided by and/or combined with the HMD; FIG. 2 illustrates an SR pipeline that receives SR content and displays an image on a display panel based on the SR content

 

2 X Apple patent - Dynamic foveated pipeline

 

Apple's patent FIG. 14 below is a flowchart representation of a method of rendering an image based on SR content; FIG. 20 is a flowchart representation of a method of predistorting an image in accordance with some implementations.

 

3 FOVEATED PIPELINE PATENT  APPLE

 

Apple's patent FIGS. 18A-18B above illustrate an example undistorted image and distorted image.

 

This is a highly detailed technical patent that AR/VR engineers will appreciate. To dive deeper into patent application 20210142443 titled "Dynamic Foveated Pipeline," click here.

 

The U.S. Patent Office also published Apple's continuation patent 20210142736 simply titled "Foveated Display," wherein Apple is shown to have added 20 new patent claims to that invention. Patently Apple covered this in a patent report published in February 2021 titled "Apple has Won a Patent for 8K Foveated Displays for a Future Mixed Reality Headset."

 

Last month Patently Apple posted another patent report regarding the correction of warped images for a headset display titled "Apple Reveals an HMD System that corrects damaged or corrupted data that would usually present warped imagery."

 

10.51FX - Patent Application Bar

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