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Apple investigating ways to add depth to iPhone photos

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
The U.S. Patent and Trademark office on Tuesday revealed a newly-granted Apple patent that details a method for capturing stereoscopic image data in software, a possible precursor to a depth-enabled photography mode for the company's mobile devices.

Apple stereoscopic imaging patent
A computer, rather than a photographer, would be responsible for selecting and aligning suitable photographs to create a stereoscopic image.


Entitled simply "producing stereoscopic image," the patent describes a system in which a computer can identify two suitable digital photographs from a range of options, then combine those photographs into a single stereoscopic image. This is particularly challenging, the patent argues, for photographers due to the need to manually ensure that the chosen photographs are properly matched.

Stereoscopic imaging is a technique designed to replicate the way humans perceive depth in real life. Because people's eyes are offset from one another, each eye receives an image of the subject at a slightly different angle --?the brain then stitches these images together, creating the appearance of depth.

Most stereoscopic cameras achieve the effect using two offset lenses in a design that mimics the way a person would view the scene. Where previous Apple patents covered the integration of multiple cameras into a single device, this new patent would allow stereoscopic images to be captured from only a single camera, with the work of selecting and aligning suitable photographs performed by the device, rather than the photographer.

Anaglyph
An anaglyphic image


The most familiar form of stereoscopy in popular culture is the anaglyph technique used to create 3D movies and images. Two scenes are overlaid on top of each other in in different colors; colored lenses --?like the ubiquitous cardboard red-and-blue glasses often distributed in cereal boxes during the 1990s --?are then used to filter the images to each eye, resulting in a three-dimensional effect.

U.S. Patent number 8,600,151 B2 was originally filed on Jan. 3, 2011, and credits Louis James Beato and Andrew C. Blose as inventors. The patent is one of a number of patents Apple acquired from Kodak when the imaging giant auctioned off its intellectual property portfolio last year in a $525 million sale.
post #2 of 14
Really great to see Apple continuously innovate on photography. And with their acquired patents from Kodak I look forward to all the things they'll come up with. Still, I use my DSLR just as often, but even all the technique they implement it's great to read upon, let alone use.
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post #3 of 14

A possible development of this idea might be to use a similar technique to that used for panoramas, but with the camera translated rather than rotated. The sensor would have a continuous view of the scene and the software could choose appropriate frames once it detects sufficient parallax. Probably already patented somewhere.

post #4 of 14
TWO WORDS.

PARALLAX

EFFECT.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Really great to see Apple continuously innovate on photography. And with their acquired patents from Kodak I look forward to all the things they'll come up with. Still, I use my DSLR just as often, but even all the technique they implement it's great to read upon, let alone use.

OK... but how are you managing your DSLR photos at the moment?

Aperture is in DIRE need of an update soon, and I would HOPE (wish upon a star pretty please!) that they allow the creating of albums, rating/tagging AND the photo library iCoud-synced across devices (if so desired by the user).

That would be awesome regardless of a patent or 2.
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post #6 of 14
Hmm I think buying PrimeSense has something to do with it 1biggrin.gif Can't wait to see what Apple is creating 1wink.gif
post #7 of 14

I wonder if Aperture is awaiting the release of the Mac Pro so that Apple can show off OpenCL capabilities to accelerate RAW processing, similar to what I expect Apple to show with Final Cut X and Logic.

post #8 of 14
Anaglyphs never worked for me. Gives me a headache.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by iFajar View Post

Hmm I think buying PrimeSense has something to do with it 1biggrin.gif Can't wait to see what Apple is creating 1wink.gif

I think you are so on the money. Combine Prime Sense tech with an iMac and you have a way of inducing parallax.

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post #10 of 14
I had an HTC EVO 3D android phone a few years back which could take 3D pics that you view on the phone, and could watch 3D movies as well. The pics could be opened on my 3DTV and the effect was pretty good overall, so if Apple is looking to kinda do the same it should be worth watching. I do have to say that it was kinda niche, and the novelty did wear off, also it was not terribly useful when you just want to take regular pictures. Some folks got a headache trying to see the image (uses the same tech that the 3DS uses). But overall I thought it was neat. The EVO created its images by having two physical cameras in the device.
Edited by akaliel - 12/3/13 at 11:27am
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

OK... but how are you managing your DSLR photos at the moment?

All managed by my managed lib in Aperture. Sure, it's 'a bit strange' it's still on v3, though we did get a lot of updates that weren't all just bug fixes. And these were all free, though with the current price this point is moot (I paid $500 for v1).
Quote:
Aperture is in DIRE need of an update soon, and I would HOPE (wish upon a star pretty please!) that they allow the creating of albums, rating/tagging AND the photo library iCoud-synced across devices (if so desired by the user).

That would be awesome regardless of a patent or 2.

They can, obviously, improve on the current sync setup. I really wish they gave more thought to the iPad in this regard. I shoot, use the CCK to view them on my iPad but this is just an intermediate step because I do a little fine tuning in Aperture when I get home. That means I import them again into Aperture and sync these projects to my iPad and need to manually delete the photos that I imported with the CCK the first time.

Still, I think they view the whole management ought to be done on your main machine, within Aperture, just like we do with iTunes. And that is where they cut the cord (PC free) when you could simply sync all with iCloud and buy music straight on your iPhone. So yeah, they might make things work in congruence with a major new release. Who knows other posters are right: ...comes with the new Mac Pro?
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post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by akaliel View Post

I had an HTC EVO 3D android phone a few years back which could take 3D pics that you view on the phone, and could watch 3D movies as well. The pics could be opened on my 3DTV and the effect was pretty good overall, so if Apple is looking to kinda do the same it should be worth watching. I do have to say that it was kinda niche, and the novelty did wear off, also it was not terribly useful when you just want to take regular pictures. Some folks got a headache trying to see the image (uses the same tech that the 3DS uses). But overall I thought it was neat. The EVO created its images by having two physical cameras in the device.
Seems to be 2 cameras is the best at this point, and if a iPhone can get the cameras 3-4 inches apart it would work probably good. Just a wonder what it will be in 5 years or so when Apple seems to be keeping a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime, and 5 isight(8 on iPhones) recently and improving in so many other ways.
post #13 of 14
Wonder if they might be exploring 3d for iTunes also. That would be a great store get and might be possible with h.265 reducing file overhead. Course it might only be passive unless they could find a way to support active via the Apple TV.

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by IRNBRU64 View Post

TWO WORDS.

PARALLAX

EFFECT.


How do you think stereoscopic imagery works? Cameras do not view in 3 dimensions, and neither do we. If that was the case, we would see through solid objects.

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