Apple patent filing points to Google Glass-like heads-up display tech

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A patent application Apple filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday points to the company's continued interest in creating high-resolution display technology suitable for near-eye applications like those seen in Google's Project Glass.

The patent filing, titled "Display resolution increase with mechanical actuation," describes a mechanism that can bump the perceived resolution of a digital display without actually increasing the number or density of pixels, a method Apple calls "pixel multiplication."

Thursday's application comes on the heels of Apple's granted U.S. Patent No. 8,212,859 for technology related to head-mounted displays (HMDs) first reported by AppleInsider earlier in July.

As noted by The Next Web, Apple specifically mentions the use of its invention in a "portable heads-up display," a device Google has already prototyped in Project Glass.

While the idea of a wearable HUD is intriguing, existing technologies don't necessarily provide for a user experience consumers have come to expect from portable electronics. Perhaps most noticeable is the quality of a device's screen such as the high-resolution Retina displays used in Apple's iPhone, iPad and now MacBook Pro product lines. Despite its already high pixel density, even a Retina display would look unacceptable at extremely close viewing distances and Thursday's patent filing aims to solve this problem.

Patent Filing
Illustration from Apple's patent filing. | Source: USPTO


In the filing's background, Apple notes manufacturing costs and energy concerns are the two main hurdles in building a high-resolution portable display:
These factors may take greater consideration in portable displays devices where batteries provide the power and space/weight may be limited. In particular, a portable heads-up display may be size and weight constrained such that addition of physical pixels may not be practical. Conventionally, fewer physical pixels may mean lower cost to manufacture, lower weight, smaller
size, but also lower resolution.
Apple proposes a mechanism that can shift a specially-synchronized digital display assembly fast enough to create a higher perceived resolution without upping the number of physical pixels.

The filing explains:
In particular, an actuator is implemented to shift physical pixels between multiple positions within a prescribed time period so that a single physical pixel appears to a viewer as multiple pixels. Hence, the pixel density is effectively multiplied by the number of positions to which the physical pixels may be displayed.
Supporting claims include methods for storing and displaying image data, feeding said data to corresponding pixels at the correct time during actuation and using lens and mirror configurations to achieve optimal output.

Display Actuation
Display actuation and data synchronization results in pixel multiplication. | Source: USPTO


Apple offers two separate methods by which pixel multiplication can be achieved. The first solution, described above, actuates the display itself while a second method involves adding an array of optics between the display and the user's eye. This lens and mirror assembly can be shifted in synchronization with physical pixel output to "give the appearance of multiple pixels per physical pixel."

Lens Array
Shifting of a lens array can alternately be used for pixel multiplication.
Source: USPTO


The filing notes the cost of actuators and circuitry should "generally be much less than the cost of physically representing the pixels independently, especially when the single physical pixel is scaled to represent four or more pixels."

It is unlikely that the technology will be used in a commercial application any time soon if at all, however the filing signals Apple's intent to remain a tech industry innovator.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member


    Apple asked the director of the late Disney´s Tron Legacy, Joseph Kosinski to direct iSPEC for Apple • http://www.josephkosinski.com/projects/movs/ispec.html long before Google´s Project Glass. It even preceded iPod Touch

  • Reply 2 of 34
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    I like the idea of the Google glasses. Maybe too geeky to be a real product but I would try them out.

  • Reply 3 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    ochyming wrote: »
    Apple asked the director of the late Disney´s Tron Legacy, <b style="font-size:medium;line-height:19px;">Joseph Kosinski to direct iSPEC for Apple • </b>
    http://www.josephkosinski.com/projects/movs/ispec.html long before Google´s <strong id="user_yui_3_4_1_1_1343382871064_646" style="color:rgb(24,24,24);line-height:normal;background-color:rgb(226,225,225);">Project Glass. </strong>
    <strong style="color:rgb(24,24,24);line-height:normal;background-color:rgb(226,225,225);">It even preceded iPod Touch</strong>

    Great link, thank you. That will be worth repeating every time an anti Apple post shows up claiming Apple are copying Google's concept. Caprica is coming!
  • Reply 4 of 34
    jensonbjensonb Posts: 528member


    I don't see Apple making a wearable computer. Too geeky.

  • Reply 5 of 34
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Great link, thank you. That will be worth repeating every time an anti Apple post shows up claiming Apple are copying Google's concept. Caprica is coming!


     


    No, it will be funny enough to listen to all the Apple devotees praise this version after having ridiculed Google's version. It doesn't matter who started working on it first. And I'm fairly certain the concept of glasses-based HUD displays was a part of mainstream science fiction before the genesis of either company's current projects so it's hardly an original idea regardless.

  • Reply 6 of 34


    "It is unlikely that the technology will be used in a commercial application any time soon if at all, however the filing signals Apple's intent to remain a tech industry innovator."


     


    You mean Apple knows how to use a pencil and paper to draw a picture? Just like some of the ideas that Google has put forth to the patent office for wearable glasses these are a joke. But they will get granted because patent office is desperate for money. 

  • Reply 7 of 34
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


     


    No, it will be funny enough to listen to all the Apple devotees praise this version after having ridiculed Google's version. It doesn't matter who started working on it first. And I'm fairly certain the concept of glasses-based HUD displays was a part of mainstream science fiction before the genesis of either company's current projects so it's hardly an original idea regardless.



     


    When has a "Google's version" of anything been more usable than Apple's tech?

  • Reply 8 of 34

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


     


    When has a "Google's version" of anything been more usable than Apple's tech?



    what do you define as usable? 

  • Reply 9 of 34
    sleepy3sleepy3 Posts: 244member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ochyming View Post


    Apple asked the director of the late Disney´s Tron Legacy, Joseph Kosinski to direct iSPEC for Apple • http://www.josephkosinski.com/projects/movs/ispec.html long before Google´s Project Glass. It even preceded iPod Touch



     


    Well that's kinda like saying Android existed since 2005, way before the first iphone. 


     


    Its a fact, its true, but people will call copycat anyway. 


     


    Fact of life.


     


    But I don't pay much mind cause in the end we here all know Apple invented everything. Can't believe nobody thought of rectangle with rounded edges with a touch screen dominating the front before apple. Genius. i Challenge ANYONE on this forum to show me an image of a device that is rectangular with rounded edges and a screen on the front that came out BEFORE the ipad.


     


    No Challengers.....didn't think so. 

  • Reply 10 of 34

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


     


    When has a "Google's version" of anything been more usable than Apple's tech?



    Maps. Gmail. Search.


     


    Probably about it.

  • Reply 11 of 34
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    Great link, thank you. That will be worth repeating every time an anti Apple post shows up claiming Apple are copying Google's concept. Caprica is coming!

    It doesn't help when sites erroneously say it was filed this week (which other sites just copy without double checking). Filing date was January 2011 if you look at the actual USPTO document
  • Reply 12 of 34

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ochyming View Post


    Apple asked the director of the late Disney´s Tron Legacy, Joseph Kosinski to direct iSPEC for Apple • http://www.josephkosinski.com/projects/movs/ispec.html long before Google´s Project Glass. It even preceded iPod Touch



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Great link, thank you. That will be worth repeating every time an anti Apple post shows up claiming Apple are copying Google's concept. Caprica is coming!


     


    You do realize that this iSpec commercial has nothing to do with Apple in any official sense, right?

  • Reply 13 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member
    caliminius wrote: »
    No, it will be funny enough to listen to all the Apple devotees praise this version after having ridiculed Google's version. It doesn't matter who started working on it first. And I'm fairly certain the concept of glasses-based HUD displays was a part of mainstream science fiction before the genesis of either company's current projects so it's hardly an original idea regardless.

    To be fair we don't know too much about any product Apple might bring out yet if at all. However, past history would support the notion that Apple might make a good product if they set the mind to it. Google not so much.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    caliminius wrote: »
    No, it will be funny enough to listen to all the Apple devotees praise this version after having ridiculed Google's version.

    People aren't ridiculing it because of Google copying movies etc, or out of Apple devotion. They are ridiculing the whole Google Glass because they think the implementation is poor. Ugly glasses, etc
  • Reply 15 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,141member

    You do realize that this iSpec commercial has nothing to do with Apple in any official sense, right?

    Other than Apple paid for it, so I'd guess that makes it kind of connected to Apple. Remember the Apple video Knowledge Navigator? Similar thing really, putting a concept out there. The Google team were probably huge Apple fans as kids and saw all this stuff and gained great ideas. Nothing wrong with that. My point was that anti Apple folk with no knowledge of this will start saying Apple only got the idea from Google and that clearly isn't the case.
  • Reply 16 of 34

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Other than Apple paid for it, so I'd guess that makes it kind of connected to Apple. Remember the Apple video Knowledge Navigator? Similar thing really, putting a concept out there. The Google team were probably huge Apple fans as kids and saw all this stuff and gained great ideas. Nothing wrong with that. My point was that anti Apple folk with no knowledge of this will start saying Apple only got the idea from Google and that clearly isn't the case.


     


    Where do you see that Apple paid for it or had any influence on the project in any way?  Everything I see says it was simply a short film for Kosinski's résumé.


     


    http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2004/06/63903?currentPage=all


     


    http://talent.adweek.com/gallery/Apple-iSPEC/1559963


     


    http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/873/the-art-and-science-of-joseph-kosinski

  • Reply 17 of 34
    wovelwovel Posts: 956member
    <span style="color:rgb(24,24,24);font-family:'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif;background-color:rgb(226,225,225);">"It is unlikely that the technology will be used in a commercial application any time soon if at all, however the filing signals Apple's intent to remain a tech industry innovator."</span>


    <span style="color:rgb(24,24,24);font-family:'lucida grande', verdana, helvetica, sans-serif;background-color:rgb(226,225,225);">You mean Apple knows how to use a pencil and paper to draw a picture? Just like some of the ideas that Google has put forth to the patent office for wearable glasses these are a joke. But they will get granted because patent office is desperate for money. </span>

    How is this a joke? It is a patent on an implementation of a novel electro-mechanical system.

    You are just anti-patent. We get it.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


     


    No, it will be funny enough to listen to all the Apple devotees praise this version after having ridiculed Google's version. It doesn't matter who started working on it first. And I'm fairly certain the concept of glasses-based HUD displays was a part of mainstream science fiction before the genesis of either company's current projects so it's hardly an original idea regardless.



     


    Please, please.


    Stop that nonsense.


    There are people working at google now that knew of that Video.


     


    It does mater.


    You could say you are fairly certain the concept of computing was a part of mainstream science fiction long before the first computer was made.


    Or new electric cars sports no NEW/Original technology


      


    And yes, it is original to have the balls thinking in implementing it.

  • Reply 19 of 34
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post


     


    Where do you see that Apple paid for it or had any influence on the project in any way?  Everything I see says it was simply a short film for Kosinski's résumé.


     


    http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2004/06/63903?currentPage=all


     


    http://talent.adweek.com/gallery/Apple-iSPEC/1559963


     


    http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/873/the-art-and-science-of-joseph-kosinski



     


    Looks like you are right.


    At the time Apple stopped making that kind of propaganda.


    Regardless you cannot write about what Apple is doing, just because it is secretive about what it is doing.

  • Reply 20 of 34
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,331member


    Android DID exist before the iPhone debuted, but not as a touchscreen device. It was being developed to be a RIM competitor. iPhone showed on the screen and changed the game and Android played catchup. But we also know that iPhone was in development well before it released, probably since 2002-2003. They just took their time and patented it unlike their competitors.

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