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Apple investigates 3D recording of real-world places, objects

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
A future iPhone could take recorded video or photos and use the information to render an object or location in 3D, allowing the user to then navigate a virtual environment.

Two new patent applications from Apple revealed this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describe technology that would generate a three-dimensional model of an object or place based on a recording. Users could then navigate the 3D space "in an order other than that of the recording."

One application, entitled "Generating a Three-Dimensional Model using a Portable Electronic Device Recording," deals specifically with the recording aspect. It says that a portable device, like an iPhone, could record more than just video, and rely on other functions like motion sensing components and GPS. This would allow the software to adjust the displayed portion of a three-dimensional model to reflect the movement of the device.

"By walking with the device in the user's real environment, a user can virtually navigate representation of a three-dimensional environment," the application says. The technology sounds like a mix between augmented reality applications such as Layar, which show the world in real-time through the iPhone camera and overlay digital information on top of the picture, and navigation services like Google Maps, where Street View can allow users to view road intersections and landmarks without physically being there.

These 3D renderings could be used in software as practical as a mapping application, or something simply for fun, like a video game.



If enabled on millions of devices, this sort of 3D mapping could be uploaded over the Internet and then shared with other users, allowing a sort of "hive mind" functionality in generating comprehensive and up-to-date real-world renderings.

The accompanying application revealed this week is entitled "Three Dimensional Navigation Using Deterministic Movement of an Electronic Device." It deals with the navigation of a 3D space generated by a user's recording. Again, this application describes features similar to existing augmented reality applications, but taking it a step further by recording the information for future playback.



"By walking with the device in the user's real environment, a user can virtually navigate a representation of a three-dimensional environment," the document states. "in some embodiments, a user can record an object or environment using an electronic device, and tag the recorded images or video with movement information describing the movement of the device during the recording. The recorded information can then be processed with the movement information to generate a three-dimensional model of the recorded environment or object."



Both applications were originally filed on January 28, 2009. They are credited to Richard Tsai, Andrew Just and Brandon Harris.

post #2 of 29
I have an idea! How about a 3D antenna that holds a signal!!!
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I have an idea! How about a 3D antenna that holds a signal!!!

Hey I have another, why don't you stop with the lame jokes?
post #4 of 29
Looks like Apple ripped this idea off of Adobe After Effects CS5, which can derive 3D models and scenes from video where the camera is in motion.

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post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I have an idea! How about a 3D antenna that holds a signal!!!

I would've laughed at that a week or two ago... Now it's gotten really old I can't even force myself to laugh. I know you're trying to be funny and I enjoyed all the antennagate jokes but it just doesn't work anymore dude.

Nice try though. I'm sure someone else will laugh with you...
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's future iPhones may offer 3D recording of places, objects

let's hope they will also offer a different antenna design
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarges View Post

let's hope they will also offer a different antenna design

does ANYONE read comments before posting?
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Looks like Apple ripped this idea off of Adobe After Effects CS5, which can derive 3D models and scenes from video where the camera is in motion.

So an application filed a year and a half ago of an idea that was clearly in development for some time prior is a ripoff of a program released just two months ago?

OH NOES! APPLE HAS A TIME MACHINE!
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarges View Post

let's hope they will also offer a different antenna design

Douche
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I have an idea! How about a 3D antenna that holds a signal!!!

Douche.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Looks like Apple ripped this idea off of Adobe After Effects CS5, which can derive 3D models and scenes from video where the camera is in motion.

Motion pictures has been around for a long time too. Do you suggest that Apple/Every other video device is ripping that idea off too? Some people just love to bash. If/When Apple brings this vision to life, I can't wait to see if someone else has done it first, in the same/different execution and/or tries to copy it.
post #12 of 29
@ Storneo

At least they know how to use multi-quote
post #13 of 29
There's a lot of stuff that future iPhones will do. Most are not worth talking about today.
post #14 of 29
Probably a bogus patent - this has been around for ages:

http://www.optech.ca/i3dhome.htm

Very cool tech - used for forensics among other things to recreate crime scenes. Not as 'cool' as an iPhone/iPod, but it is electronic, and it is portable.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

I would've laughed at that a week or two ago... Now it's gotten really old I can't even force myself to laugh. I know you're trying to be funny and I enjoyed all the antennagate jokes but it just doesn't work anymore dude.

Nice try though. I'm sure someone else will laugh with you...

FINE!
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A future iPhone could take recorded video or photos and use the information to render an object or location in 3D, allowing the user to then navigate a virtual environment. ...

Personally, I'm getting really tired of hearing about these whiz-bang futuristic patents from Apple. They never implement them, so why bother even getting excited?

It was especially disappointing after that strong run of absolutely fantastic patents they came out with when they were inventing the iPhone/iPad, to have it then turn out that Apple used absolutely *none* of those patents in the resulting devices! Argh!!! Need I mention the now five or ten year old patent about using an LCD screen as a camera that pops up with great regularity on sites like this?

This is another perfect example. There is no way this patent will be implemented for five or ten years at the soonest. It probably won't be implemented at all. Why bother with this junk? It's all pretty much just reprinted or stolen from this site anyway:

Patently Apple

If I'm feeling particularly masochistic I can always go there. This has absolutely nothing to do with Apple's current or near future products.
post #17 of 29
I wish they just get to the Holodeck patent already!
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post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Personally, I'm getting really tired of hearing about these whiz-bang futuristic patents from Apple. They never implement them, so why bother even getting excited?

It was especially disappointing after that strong run of absolutely fantastic patents they came out with when they were inventing the iPhone/iPad, to have it then turn out that Apple used absolutely *none* of those patents in the resulting devices! Argh!!! Need I mention the now five or ten year old patent about using an LCD screen as a camera that pops up with great regularity on sites like this?

This is another perfect example. There is no way this patent will be implemented for five or ten years at the soonest. It probably won't be implemented at all. Why bother with this junk? It's all pretty much just reprinted or stolen from this site anyway:

Patently Apple

If I'm feeling particularly masochistic I can always go there. This has absolutely nothing to do with Apple's current or near future products.

Not totally true. If you check back over the years many have materialized in one shape or another. I recall the new trackpad for example..
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post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Not totally true. If you check back over the years many have materialized in one shape or another. I recall the new trackpad for example..

I generalised for certain, but all the really cool futuristic ones like this never materialise at all in my experience. Something about a new kind of process for machining aluminium might, but then those are not the interesting ones.
post #20 of 29
Umm, this is already implemented on the Droid Incredible, sorry to burst anyone's bubble.

It is however, a great step towards augmented reality.

Ken
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwatson View Post

Probably a bogus patent - this has been around for ages:

http://www.optech.ca/i3dhome.htm

Very cool tech - used for forensics among other things to recreate crime scenes. Not as 'cool' as an iPhone/iPod, but it is electronic, and it is portable.

There are a lot of apps/products in this overall space:

- Videopano: an iPhone app that allows you to put your iPhone in video mode and spin around to create panos

- RealPlaces: lets people create their own 3d walk-around places from still images (low-tech, but cool)

- Photosynth: microsoft's web toy that pieces together images from the web (also in hive-mind) to generate a cute semi-3d-ish space (higher-tech, but you don't have any control over the end product).

And there are tons more, but none of this means this patent app is bogus. If it embodies something new and unique on top of what already exists, they can add it to their huge portfolio.
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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post

I have an idea! How about a 3D antenna that holds a signal!!!

LOSER.....antennagate is over...grow up and move along....antenna jokes are old and tiring...
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

Umm, this is already implemented on the Droid Incredible, sorry to burst anyone's bubble.

It is however, a great step towards augmented reality.

A much more interesting topic. Does anyone own patents for the technology around augmented reality?

It has been theorised that (sooner rather than later) augmented reality will be the next generations iPod and seeing a kid walking down the street with something like glasses beaming information into their retina will be as common as seeing someone with headphones in today. It's the next true "killer app".
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post

So an application filed a year and a half ago of an idea that was clearly in development for some time prior is a ripoff of a program released just two months ago?

OH NOES! APPLE HAS A TIME MACHINE!

Actually, you're right. This kind of research has been going on since at least 2000 or earlier.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6940538.html

Here's a video from 2007 based on a paper from 2004:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mvzHvPYX0k

Another similar, good example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVqn7...eature=related

And a more primitive version of the same idea:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4obT...eature=related

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post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by storneo View Post

Motion pictures has been around for a long time too. Do you suggest that Apple/Every other video device is ripping that idea off too? Some people just love to bash. If/When Apple brings this vision to life, I can't wait to see if someone else has done it first, in the same/different execution and/or tries to copy it.

I'm not a basher. Trust me.

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post #26 of 29
Found a really interesting video that highlights a related form of 3D synthesis based on photos.

http://grail.cs.washington.edu/projects/parallax/

Once all of this 3D model extraction is able to be combined with "other people's photos" (such as topographical information, Flickr photos, etc.) one should be able to literally create 3D scenes built around your own photos in real-time.

And this is an example of the kind of effects you'll be able to apply in real-time in the future. Incredible stuff.

http://vimeo.com/1513129

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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Personally, I'm getting really tired of hearing about these whiz-bang futuristic patents from Apple. They never implement them, so why bother even getting excited?
...

This is another perfect example. There is no way this patent will be implemented for five or ten years at the soonest. It probably won't be implemented at all. ...

If I'm feeling particularly masochistic I can always go there. This has absolutely nothing to do with Apple's current or near future products.

Here's the problem. I have a particular application for this technology in mind already. I've already implemented some of it. Specifically there is a section of US-129 at the TN/NC border known as Tail of The Dragon that I would like to use the GPS and other sensors in order to produce a sub-meter resolution 3D map for game simulation. The iPhone 4 can do the job better than the 3G since it adds a compass and gyro.

Recording multiple passes of this stretch of road is a fairly trivial matter. After that, there is the issue of processing the data. Adding in camera data would help with texture mapping.

This is an obvious use of the device and now it may be patent blocked by Apple.
post #28 of 29
So this is how apple is gonna compete with Google Maps. Just let the people create a 3d view of their surroundings on the way to school/work and upload that to apple's servers. Then apple will stich that together to create a super up to date view of the world in 3d. Instead of sending out those cars, just let the users to that for you. Say it's a game or something, top 1,000 uploaders get 10,000 or something like that.
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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

So this is how apple is gonna compete with Google Maps. Just let the people create a 3d view of their surroundings on the way to school/work and upload that to apple's servers. Then apple will stich that together to create a super up to date view of the world in 3d. Instead of sending out those cars, just let the users to that for you. Say it's a game or something, top 1,000 uploaders get 10,000 or something like that.

This is really cool stuff, but what will motivate people to do that, besides money? (which doesn't work long-term).

There are already existing solutions in that general space, like RealPlaces. But it takes time and effort to take the photos. It seems like businesses or vacation destinations might be motivated to build their own and/or incent the locals or guests to do so. But are regular people going to be interested in doing this? If not, how else might they be encouraged?
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