Apple Patents Offer Insight to Purchase of PrimeSense

What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and What We Don’t Know We Don’t Know

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." – Albert Einstein

30 November 2013
Loren W
Melbourne, Oz

Technorati Tags: Apple, Prime Sense, Kinect, Microsoft, iPhone,


What We Know

Interesting Apple Patents – It is known companies including Apple will often introduce hundred that have little no intention of ever being developed, partly to hide the patents they do intend to release. Apple was granted over 220 patents in November 2013, alone.

clip_image003[4]If we simply look at some of the patents Apple has received in the last 4 years, especially recently how they relate to what PrimeSense is already doing themselves or with partners, then some interesting elements appear.

Who Are PrimeSense? – Founded in 2005 by Israeli’s Alexander Shpunt and Aviad Maizels. Both were in Military R&D with Aviad serving as head of a technical R&D section in the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

Previous Apple Patents –In 2010 2 months before Microsoft announced the Kinect, Apple applied for a patent to track information from its users. There was a minor kafuffle over this at the time, in early September 2010, based on personal spying concerns including form the EFF. This technology could;

· View a user’s face & take pictures with no noise. · Record the user’s voice, whether or not a phone call is even being made,’· Determine the users’ heartbeat, take a photograph of the surrounding area, and determine where it is being used. · Bottom Line The patent looks who you are, where you are, and what you are doing and saying and even how fast your heart is beating.

clip_image004[4]October 2012 Patents – Showed us finger print scanning that was released but also Polymer dispersed liquid crystal window, uses technology to hide the camera, and fingerprint lenses on the phone.
May 2013 – Patent offers a technique where a sensor for an iPad or iPhone recognizes movement away from the screen not just touch in a pull gesture (aka Kinect like).
November 2013 – Patent 8,593,534- Offers a mode of taking photographs only when the subject is in proper view, addressing the subject and background images. rove of facial recognition. Patent 8,593,423/5/ – tracking not just touch but hand recognition technique (note: a partner of PrimeSense has also brought that technology to market themselves 3GearSystems. Patent 8,593,426 looks to image identification by differentiating or matching colors in multiple images

My Favorite Patent (application) wording – 20130265378 The method terminates the transmission of images captured by the first camera and transmits images captured by the second camera of the first mobile device to the second device during the video conference.”

As clear as that might be it made by head explode

clip_image005[4]Relevant PrimeSense Timeline

CES 2011 – 2 months after launch of Microsoft Kinect, Multiple companies show off new products and partnership with PrimeSense, the highlight is picked up by many as the potential of using sensors in smartphones. In 2012 – PrimeSense announced the launch of their new Capri 3D sensor their smallest yet (x10 smaller), and due to be launched for OEMs in mid-2013, able to fit into a phone or other small device (e.g. TVs, Watch etc.), offering short and long range detection/ viewing.
Early 2013 – PrimeSense Releases World of Sensing Marketing Video, showing off different technology uses including TV, and PC image sensing
Mid 2013 – PrimeSense releases 3d Sensor SDK, makes it available to developers. Late 2013 – Apple buys PrimeSense
Note: In the recent pre-Apple purchase marketing Video PrimeSense released a PR video showing some potential uses for their tech nology. These included;

· Eye-tracking tech – already in other vendor’s phones. Adjust volume as you move them away from your ear. Face recognition – obvious choice with the tech form the Kinect and all. 3D Mobile – is possible now as the HTC phones have shown us, how that can be used to be more usable is still to be seen

What We Don’t Know, We Don’t Know.

· It is interesting none the less, that many of the patents Apple has obtained or requested are now very similar to product elements that PrimeSense and their partners have already released or has been tried unsuccessfully by others.

clip_image007[4]· We know Apple released their Touch · ID system recently for the iPhone 5S, it improved on the biometric finger reading technology that had been in the marketplace already for some time but not working very well until now.

· Similarly, the Android Galaxy Nexus released in 2011 offered facial recognition that many to this day cannot use as the product is not great.

· Even the Kinect itself from Microsoft and PrimeSense was greatly flawed needing a huge amount of room to work well.

· Technology and software has evolved as has the marketplace, with sensors now small enough for phones, or watches. Much of the technology will be less of surprise when released but welcome as the evolution it is rather than a revolution in technology.

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