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Apple files patent for camera hidden behind display

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
We've already seen the iSight indicator light "disappear" behind the bezel of Apple's MacBook and iMac computers. A recently published patent application could make the iSight itself not only disappear, but move to the middle of the screen. MacBooks, iMacs, and even iPhones and iPod touches could take advantage of the new technology.

Submitted in July 2007, theÂ*filingÂ*details plans for a camera mounted behind a display that could capture an image "while the display elements are in an inactive state (in which the display elements are darkened and at least partially transparent)."

According to the document, a similar, additional system could involve two or more cameras, with software combining the two images into one.Â* Video would also be possible by cycling the display "between the active state and the inactive state repeatedly."

However, this doesn't necessarily mean a 'dark spot' would appear on the screen during photos, or even start flashing during video capture.

"In some embodiments, the mechanism is configured to substantially minimize the period of time in the inactive state to reduce the appearance of flicker of the display screen."

The filing explains how today's built-in cameras require a user to look away from the lens in order to see his or her video conferencing participants. Â*

"Constantly looking back and forth between the display screen and the camera ... can be distracting and make the conversation seem awkward and unnatural."

This would appear to improve upon a similarÂ*June 2004 filingÂ*that involved many tiny image sensors wedged between LCD cells, and software to stitch together all of the smaller pieces.



In an image attached to the application, a cross-section diagram illustrates a focused "image-capturing mechanism" aimed at a user through the screen.

Another presents a MacBook with no iSight lens on the top bezel (and apparently being used by a President Bush lookalike).



While rumors have already circulated for some time of what might best be called "iChat AV Mobile" for the iPhone, this proposed patent seems to confirm the very real possibility of such a feature for the iPhone, iPod touch, and even other devices.

"The display screen is coupled to a laptop computer, a desktop computer, a cellular phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), an electronic organizer, a media player, an advertisement-generation mechanism, a security mechanism, an automated teller machine (ATM), an instrument console or control panel, or another electronic device."

Other recently published Apple patent filings include one for anÂ*improved laptop display housingÂ*that integrates the familiar illuminated Apple logo behind the screen. Â*Another describes aÂ*stiffening plateÂ*for a laptop's palm rest that would help save weight by making it possible, for example, to replace heavily metal-reinforced Superdrive housings with aluminum housings.

Apple has also devised a way to simplify the architecture within its iPhone and iPod touch devices, which currently need three chips just to interpret the touch sensor.Â* AÂ*new single chip designÂ*would be better equipped to lessen electrical interference and further improve touch screen response.

One last filing seeks to improve the efficiency and consistency ofÂ*LED-lit displays.
post #2 of 33
I very rarely even use mine.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #3 of 33
Sounds pretty cool, but I disagree that this is an "improvement" on the previous patent. The previous idea was an elegant, simple design. This is more like a kludge (flicking the screen on and off 60 times a second), and would also affect the overall design of laptop/iphone screens in a negative way.

The proof is in the pudding as they say though, so if this one works and the other one still doesn't, then it's certainly a winner.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
Reply
post #4 of 33
Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmonster View Post

Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.



if only you had kept the email
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmonster View Post

Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.

Yeah right, just like they did the same with that little girl.

This should signal Apple's intent on actually using the technologies they've developed in the labs. Sadly, with today's Palm's announcement, induction charging, Apple won't be the first to woo us with wireless electricity wizardry.
post #7 of 33
I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.
bb
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post #8 of 33
How is this new news????

I thought everyone saw this reported on MacRumors a couple years ago.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckGee View Post

Sadly, with today's Palm's announcement, induction charging, Apple won't be the first to woo us with wireless electricity wizardry.

Yea, even if they do come out with a cheap and efficient system, I'd have to decline because there's no need for another rapid cancer inducing technology. I'm not "dying" to go completely wireless..
post #10 of 33
As nifty as this is, I do prefer a camera that I can cover with a small piece of electrical tape. Just to be sure.
post #11 of 33
Will Apple have a booth at next year's CES?
Will Ballmer take on SJ in a battle of the keynotes?
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.

I was just scrolling down to post the exact same comment!!
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I very rarely even use mine.

The camera or the display?
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

The camera or the display?

Good one.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
Reply
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_cazorp View Post

As nifty as this is, I do prefer a camera that I can cover with a small piece of electrical tape. Just to be sure.

I thought I was the only one who did that. A very neat, small, circular cover.

Yup, a camera you can't even see isn't such a good idea, especially on a computer that's looking at you or your home all day.
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.



_____________
iPhone, iPod
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iPhone, iPod
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post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I guess the patent illustrator couldn't find any other illustration to use on that laptop except for the one of George W Bush.

At least have him flicking off the Libs so we can get a laugh.
post #18 of 33
placing bush's image on the drawing can also be a form of "time-stamping" the picture, for whatever that's worth.
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmonster View Post

Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.


There isn't much space between pixels, the gaps are something like 0.025mm. Even if you knock out an entire pixel every 10 pixels, I don't know if that's going to give us an affordable display like that before the patent expires, and we get a screen that has a visible grid of dead pixels. There isn't much of a lens that can be fit in a 0.25mm square. As awkward as it is to have a camera at the edge of a screen, that's the best that can be done affordably on a notebook. If you can afford depth, maybe a camera behind a teleprompter-like device will get you the most natural video conversation that you can reasonably get.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bombay2008 View Post

if only you had kept the email

Oh, I HAVE the email. And the email headers that include how it was routed from my machine to Apple, and all that. I didn't make my post to impress anyone, or waste my time. I really did send Apple that email. That doesn't mean they didn't think of it before me. What's done is done and I wish Apple the best.
post #21 of 33
... until the government finally has those George Orwell television sets they have wanted for years.

Thanks Apple!
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmonster View Post

Oh, I HAVE the email. And the email headers that include how it was routed from my machine to Apple, and all that. I didn't make my post to impress anyone, or waste my time. I really did send Apple that email. That doesn't mean they didn't think of it before me. What's done is done and I wish Apple the best.

The lack of eye contact in teleconference / video chat is a problem people have been looking at for quite some time. I myself thought I had a clever idea a few years back to use two cameras, one on each side of the screen or one below and one on top and then reconstruct a synthetic intermediate image based on the stereo images.

I eventually did a search, and it turns out that the approach has been worked on.

It's quite likely somebody was already working on your approach or something close to it.

Anyway, I'm not crazy about in-screen approaches because I feel that image quality should always be the priority, and here you are introducing black spaces or flickering, or both. As far as I can tell, this latest concept would work best with OLED, not LCD, displays, since these have no backlight panel.
post #23 of 33
Beat me to it!
“It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.”

Enz
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmonster View Post

Oh, I HAVE the email. And the email headers that include how it was routed from my machine to Apple, and all that. I didn't make my post to impress anyone, or waste my time. I really did send Apple that email. That doesn't mean they didn't think of it before me. What's done is done and I wish Apple the best.

You may have sent that to Apple, but if memory serves, around that time a new kind of chip was designed (was it Texas Instruments?) that was able to both transmit light and act as a light sensor for potential camera development. So, in essence, it was both a display and camera on a chip. I always remembered this concept, even though I forgot who had the patent.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #25 of 33
i dont quiet remember, but isnt this how 1984 TV worked when it spys on you.
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

The proof is in the pudding as they say though, so if this one works and the other one still doesn't, then it's certainly a winner.

I think they say "the proof is in the putting". Those who say, "pudding" don't really know what they're talking about.
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shogun View Post

I think they say "the proof is in the putting". Those who say, "pudding" don't really know what they're talking about.

Uh, wow. How about not that. I'm more inclined to say that you are the one that doesn't know what you're talking about.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...0224032AAviKa4
post #28 of 33
This is not an indicator for a second camera in the iPhone... On the iPhone's small screen, the difference in viewing angle between lense and screen is hardly an issue. It wouldn't even be noticable. Additionally, this requires a high end display.
post #29 of 33
We don't need no stinking screen flicker!
post #30 of 33
Hello,

I know we are a nation of amnesiacs.

But, if anyone has the time, they might revisit my post on this :

09-16-2008, 12:42 PM\t #121
gooddog
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 73
I think this is why gloss is being forced on us ... And more is to be forced on us...
Remember this story ?

"Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Apple's patent for an LCD display that also takes photos, video

By Appleinsider Staff

Published: 12:00 PM EST"

Well, if you look in through a matte glass plate that is placed right
up to an art print or an LCD, it works beautifully.

BUT, if you try to look OUT through the same glass plate, toward the room contents, IT IS TOTALLY USELESS -- BLURRED.

So, IMHO, Apple is getting us used to gloss (trying to) so that it can implement this technology.

WHAT ELSE IS BEING FORCED ?

Here is what : we have gone from the clip-on iSight with its featured privacy iris that twists shut for POSITIVE indication of
visual privacy >>> to the built-in, tiny camera that forces us to rely on electronic switch-off (like the mute button on cell phones that nobody trusts) BUT could still be shuttered with tape, etc. >>> to the future where THE SCREEN ITSELF contains an optical phased array (the algorithms must already abound by way of radio astronomy and such ) AND YOU CAN NOT DISABLE IT WITHOUT LOSING USE OF THE SCREEN ITSELF --- cover the screen ? Duh.

It is now known that cell phones can be infected, by governments, with malware that enable the snoopers to turn on the mic with no hint to the user that they are bugged.

It is obvious that the iPhone can not have it's battery removed , on the fly, as many security-minded officials do ; Chenney comes to mind .

It is of little comfort that Google uses "only statistical data" when it listens in on us for sounds of crying babies, barking dogs, motorcycles reving, etc. to pipe ads for pampers, dog chow, and
engine additives. THE POINT IS the barn door IS open and our privacy is gone.

So, why not go VISUAL with this trend ?

Why not a real "1984 " VISI-SCREEN that cannot be turned off, with certainty ?

I hope we don't get the usual dismissive, idiot responses that abound on the "internets" or the spineless "if-you-have-nothing-to-hide-why-worry-about-it" crap from the
conformist corner.

It would be nice if we got a serious response to this.

---gooddog

---gooddog

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: * ] AAAAaaaRRRrrrFFFFff !!!
\\
---gooddog

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: * ] AAAAaaaRRRrrrFFFFff !!!
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---gooddog

/
: * ] AAAAaaaRRRrrrFFFFff !!!
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post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

I thought I was the only one who did that. A very neat, small, circular cover.

Yup, a camera you can't even see isn't such a good idea, especially on a computer that's looking at you or your home all day.

You'll notice that a little green light comes on when the camera is activated. This is an LED that lights automatically when current is passed to the camera, so it is impossible for the camera to activate without this light coming on (unless the LED burns out).

Hope this helps you guys sleep better at night.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by gooddog View Post

I hope we don't get the usual dismissive, idiot responses that abound on the "internets" or the spineless "if-you-have-nothing-to-hide-why-worry-about-it" crap from the
conformist corner.
\\

Or any of those stupid conspiracy theorists who can spin the big brother thing in every topic you discuss. I hear ya man.
post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmonster View Post

Nobody will probably believe me, but I sent Apple an email in 2003 suggesting to them they embed camera detectors between the pixels of their screens. To this day I wonder if they took my idea and patented it. I am the idiot for not doing that myself in the first place.


Believe it or not, I also thought of that technology! But I'm not a computer engineer, so no way of making it. I've thought of like making use of the "TWO WAY MIRROR" kinda thing. Haha...
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