Apple Continues Work on 3D Mapping Solutions for Mac, Apple TV and iOS

A patent titled “Lens array projector” issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to Apple in one of the first reassignments from the Cupertino company’s purchase of Israeli firm PrimeSense, that specializes in 3D motion sensing and machine vision, suggests that the tech giant is moving forward on development of advanced body gesture control for Mac, Apple TV and iOS, AppleInsider reports.

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PrimeSense, whose technology has been used in Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, in particular the device’s range camera, was bought by Apple last year in November. The patent assigned to Apple outlines basic optical components of PrimeSense’s “light coding” technology. The source notes that Apple’s patent actually provides a better solution for creating uniform patterned light in an optical projection system, offering much more accurate results.

“Called a beam homogenizer, Apple’s invention receives input from a matrix of light sources, such as laser diodes or similar components, that are arranged in a predetermined, uniform fashion. When light reaches the homogenizer, it passes through a first microlens array with lenses disposed at a pitch equal to the light source matrix. A second microlens element constructed with a different pitch receives and focuses light from the first array, passing it on to a collection lens for collimation. 

When light passes through two microlens arrays with different pitches, and different geometric arrangements, it mixes due to the offset to produce a final beam that averages out deviations like laser speckle.”

It has been previously rumored that the next-gen Apple TV would employ 3D mapping as a gesture-based control scheme, similar to Microsoft’s Kinect.

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