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Apple exploring multilayer displays for three-dimensional computing

post #1 of 23
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Apple has shown interest in creating a new type of display with multiple transparent layers, offering the ability to display a three-dimensional image without the need for glasses.

The details come from a new patent application published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, entitled "Multilayer Display Device." Discovered by AppleInsider, the document describes a display that has individual layers driven by separate graphics processors.

Apple's application notes that interest in 3D has recently seen a resurgence due to improvements in computer-generated imagery and high-definition video. In many current uses, the perception of depth is created by computer graphics that are used to enhance a two-dimensional image.

But these techniques are imperfect, Apple notes, because they only allow a limited amount of depth, and often require that the user wear special glasses to properly see the image. In addition, displaying 3D content usually requires expensive projection equipment.

"As such, most stereoscopic display devices are not practical for personal use," the filing reads.

Apple's solution is a multilayer display system that could be driven by multiple transparent organic light-emitting diode screens, or OLED. The use of multiple transparent screens would allow for layers in an image, creating visual depth for users.

"The use of OLED panels may provide an advantage over traditional display devices, since OLED panels do not require a backlight to function, and may therefore be much thinner and lighter than backlit display panels," the application reads. "OLED panels are further capable of displaying deep black levels and can naturally achieve a high contrast ratio."



While multiple transparent OLED displays could be used in the configuration, the screen farthest from the user would be a more traditional opaque screen, either LCD, LED or OLED.

Each of the display's screens could be driven by its own separate graphics processing unit, ensuring the device has enough power to drive what are actually multiple distinct displays within the 3D monitor.

The filing describes how 3D might be advantageous in using an operating system like Mac OS X, with items like the menu bar, open applications, desktop icons and desktop background displayed on different panels. In one example, a currently selected application resides on the display panel closest to the user, while inactive applications reside on a second panel that is farther away.

The system could also adjust the brightness of the display on the front panel to emphasize those images to the user. Secondary displays would have a lower brightness level, making active applications and the menu bar stand out more.

The application, made public this week, was first filed by Apple in January of 2010. The proposed invention is credited to Peter H. Mahowald.



Apple's interest in 3D is not new. Back in 2008, AppleInsider discovered the company's conceptual images for a 3D user interface in Mac OS X.

Last year, a separate filing showed that Apple had tinkered with the idea of holographic displays that also would not require users to wear glasses. And it has even explored a multi-camera system for taking 3D pictures with an iPhone.
post #2 of 23
Doesn't PureDepth already own similar patents?
http://ir.puredepth.com/releasedetai...ID=443710&l=jp
post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Doesn't PureDepth already own similar patents?
http://ir.puredepth.com/releasedetai...ID=443710&l=jp

From the looks of it they certainly do. Not that it necessarily means Apple won't be granted a patent on the same thing by a US patent office that sometimes seems clueless.
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post #4 of 23
Please, no 3D displays. As someone who stares at a screen much of the day, I really do not want that. Shadows around windows give enough sense of 3D. I'm fairly certain 3D displays will lead to a lot of headaches.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Doesn't PureDepth already own similar patents?
http://ir.puredepth.com/releasedetai...ID=443710&l=jp

Similar but not the same, Puredepth MLD are all OLED layers, and run by single grafic proces, while Apple give grafic proces to each layer independently, where each of them can be diferent one OLED, LED, LCD.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmperorsNewClothes View Post

Please, no 3D displays. As someone who stares at a screen much of the day, I really do not want that. Shadows around windows give enough sense of 3D. I'm fairly certain 3D displays will lead to a lot of headaches.

I think you're missing the idea here. It's not a single display panel designed to fake 3D by exploiting the nature of our depth perception (as current 3D displays do); it's literally multiple panels arranged back-to-forward within one display housing.
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post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragan0405 View Post

Similar but not the same, Puredepth MLD are all OLED layers, and run by single grafic proces, while Apple give grafic proces to each layer independently, where each of them can be diferent one OLED, LED, LCD.

According to Negafox's link, you're incorrect.

Quote: PureDepth's MLD displays contain two or more layers of display panels placed in front of one another in a single monitor allowing for 3-D effects. Its patented technologies provide brilliant alerts, high-contrast viewing, intense colors and real depth, revolutionizing the way people view data, images, video and other content. This latest patent offers broad protection for uses involving an unlimited number of OLED layers with or without depth between them, LCD/OLED combinations using MLD technology, the conversion of single-layer content into three-dimensional content across depth planes, and the manipulation of content across depth planes.

I don't see anything substantially different between the article description of Apple's patent filing and the one already granted to PureDepth (and I think already in use by Sanyo)
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post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmperorsNewClothes View Post

Please, no 3D displays. As someone who stares at a screen much of the day, I really do not want that. Shadows around windows give enough sense of 3D. I'm fairly certain 3D displays will lead to a lot of headaches.

My profession is in 3D Visualization and a true 3D screen giving me the ability to see my 3D environment in 3D space would be a huge benefit! It would allow me to see where one object is relative to other objects in the scene. In 2D, it's very difficult to see and understand what's going on while working on a complex 3D scene.

I'm sure there are 1000+ applications for this technology beyond 3D Visualization. It'll be a huge market in the near future once it becomes mainstream.
post #9 of 23
Looks like someone didn't do their homework. This patent application will likely be rejected. But then again, Apple can likely buy out PureDepth...
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Looks like someone didn't do their homework. This patent application will likely be rejected. But then again, Apple can likely buy out PureDepth...

And because of the over-the-top price paid for Nortel patents, even PureDepth wouldn't come cheap now. Everyone who has any patents of value to mobile players suddenly finds their intellectual property to be a hot item and probably looking for fool's money to relinquish ownership of them.
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post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

According to Negafox's link, you're incorrect.

Quote: PureDepth's MLD displays contain two or more layers of display panels placed in front of one another in a single monitor allowing for 3-D effects. Its patented technologies provide brilliant alerts, high-contrast viewing, intense colors and real depth, revolutionizing the way people view data, images, video and other content. This latest patent offers broad protection for uses involving an unlimited number of OLED layers with or without depth between them, LCD/OLED combinations using MLD technology, the conversion of single-layer content into three-dimensional content across depth planes, and the manipulation of content across depth planes.

I don't see anything substantially different between the article description of Apple's patent filing and the one already granted to PureDepth (and I think already in use by Sanyo)

Well, -conversion of a single-layer content- (PureDepth), and -display's screens driven by its own separate graphics processing unit- (Apple), look very diferent to me. If i understand this right, PureDepth method act, as you break up photo in CYMG layers, while Apple method break up photo in background, foreground and middle parts in full colour.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragan0405 View Post

Well, -conversion of a single-layer content- (PureDepth), and -display's screens driven by its own separate graphics processing unit- (Apple), look very diferent to me. If i understand this right, PureDepth method act, as you break up photo in CYMG layers, while Apple method break up photo in background, foreground and middle parts in full colour.

You did read the bold type "contain two or more layers" in the PureDepth patent announcement, along with the mention of OLED and LCD screens in combination, correct? Unless I'm mistaken (which would not be the first time), an LCD screen and an OLED layer would each need separate graphics processing.
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post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

You did read the bold type "contain two or more layers" in the PureDepth patent announcement, along with the mention of OLED and LCD screens in combination, correct? Unless I'm mistaken (which would not be the first time), an LCD screen and an OLED layer would each need separate graphics processing.

Yes, I did read all of that, and I understand that those "two or more layers" display same content in the same time converting one source of data on diferent layers. On the other hand you have two or more layers with their own content from independent sources, and each content can bi altered, or displayed independently. About LCD/OLED, they probably have diferent display proces, but they still show the same thing from one data source.
post #14 of 23
OK, I see what you're implying. While PureDepth's previously linked press release doesn't rule out separate and distinct images on different layers, other patents they hold do indicate they have patented multiview displays. One I found in a quick search is:
http://ir.puredepth.com/releasedetai...ID=463989&l=jp
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post #15 of 23
This release explains better what some of their more recent patents were granted for.

http://ir.puredepth.com/releasedetai...leaseid=402868

An excerpt: The first allowed patent application, entitled "Interactive Three Dimensional Display with Layered Screens", is for an interactive 3-D display with layered screens. This technology, which can provide a key enhancement to kiosk displays, computer games and simulators, enables users to manipulate images via touch screen controls or means adjacent to the screens such as buttons, touchpads or joysticks. It also allows advertisers to display messages on one screen while images are being displayed on other screens.

The second allowed patent, entitled "Data Display for Multiple Layered Screens", is for a method of displaying data on a multi-level screen display by assigning screen designation codes to respective groups of data to determine the physical screen on which each group of date is displayed. This method is particularly suitable for spreadsheet software in which a user is able to see overlaying spreadsheets simultaneously.

Looks to me like they have it pretty well covered.
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post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

OK, I see what you're implying. While PureDepth's previously linked press release doesn't rule out separate and distinct images on different layers, other patents they hold do indicate they have patented multiview displays. One I found in a quick search is:
http://ir.puredepth.com/releasedetai...ID=463989&l=jp

Good to know, but multi-view, as described is several diferent 2D images displayed at same time on MLD, not a 3D.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragan0405 View Post

Good to know, but multi-view, as described is several diferent 2D images displayed at same time on MLD, not a 3D.

Yes, and my computer screen is several different 1D lines displayed at the same time on a Multi-Line Display, not 2D.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Yes, and my computer screen is several different 1D lines displayed at the same time on a Multi-Line Display, not 2D.

Line is 2D
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragan0405 View Post

Line is 2D

Well I am a bit late in the game but nevertheless not too late..I also applied for a patent.
and my invention was completely from scratch...but i am please to say my display offers
real 3D not just depth and something else that i am not ready to mention..its the real deal ...so we will see what the patent office grants me..until then i am not showing..but best believe it smashes pureDepth.+
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Yes, and my computer screen is several different 1D lines displayed at the same time on a Multi-Line Display, not 2D.

there is moving parallax and 3D still parallax..you can have still-parallax with a flat display..thus you can have moving parallax with flat images on MLD...i understand what he means ,it has parallax but its not 3D...I have develop an inventions that solves this problem giving you depth and 3D and moving parallax..aside from that it also has a very cutting edge feature that takes the whole experience to another level... but if you have 20- 50 million dollars i will show it to you. then you can make billions
post #21 of 23
monopoly ...same crap its still flat 2d image...i hope apple get theirs granted just as i get my invention patent granted..PureDepth can not limit the use of a wide application like OLEDs.
that would be a monopoly...may the best man win should be more of the outlook...stackin oled screens is not an invention, its use of application...hopefully we have some keen folks over there at the U.S Patent office..its obvious PureDepth wants to control more than what they have currently produce...why they have so many patents on the same crap...they want control...i would love to show my remarkable results...put it this way...i am already where they would want be,and i'm just coming into the gate....i am way advance with this technology that I added a letter to it..ML?D
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

This release explains better what some of their more recent patents were granted for.

http://ir.puredepth.com/releasedetai...leaseid=402868

An excerpt: The first allowed patent application, entitled "Interactive Three Dimensional Display with Layered Screens", is for an interactive 3-D display with layered screens. This technology, which can provide a key enhancement to kiosk displays, computer games and simulators, enables users to manipulate images via touch screen controls or means adjacent to the screens such as buttons, touchpads or joysticks. It also allows advertisers to display messages on one screen while images are being displayed on other screens.

The second allowed patent, entitled "Data Display for Multiple Layered Screens", is for a method of displaying data on a multi-level screen display by assigning screen designation codes to respective groups of data to determine the physical screen on which each group of date is displayed. This method is particularly suitable for spreadsheet software in which a user is able to see overlaying spreadsheets simultaneously.

Looks to me like they have it pretty well covered.

Except for, you know, not having a clue regarding the underlying tech or what, exactly, Apple has patented beyond "multiple screens."

As always, tech patents hinge on the specific implementation, which gets, well, technical. While there may be prior art as to the use of layered screens to create 3D effects, Apple could be coming at it from another angle, or have come up with a way to combine software and hardware to enhance or streamline the process in ways that diverge from what is already on the market.
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post #23 of 23
oK I am that small guy with genius abilities...so far there is only 4 contestant..
PureDepth, Apple, Sanyo and me..yes me...let me proves it to you...compare my link..
the only thing sucks about my invention is I have no connections.but i did file for patent. in my patent description is very detail and covers how to record a scene or person for true volumetric display.
http://www.youtube.com/user/diamony1.../0/5aiwfj2911M

puredepth's example...I used flash just as they did but i am the small guy and i am afraid to post a link...notice puredepth's example is quit primitive ..i demonstrate form..take a look at puredepth's example its quit flat:
http://www.puredepth.com/platformDemo.php?l=en
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