Apple's invisible display concept would show more than the human eye can see

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited May 2015
Future iPhone displays could transmit invisible but valuable information, such as barcodes for coupons or even advanced facial recognition, according to a proposed Apple invention.




The concept was detailed in a new Apple patent application published this week, and discovered by AppleInsider. Entitled "Invisible Light Transmission Via a Display Assembly," it describes how a smaller display might transmit an invisible image that would be machine readable.

In the filing, Apple notes that a small device, like an iPhone, could include multiple display assemblies. While one display could present visual data that a user can see, another display embedded beneath it could transmit information invisible to the human eye.

This could also be accomplished in a single display by having pixels that quickly alternate between visible and invisible information. By utilizing the refresh rate of the display, the panel could simultaneously show both images on one display.




Apple's proposed invention notes that this technology could be used to display information that would be meaningless to the human eye, such as a barcode or QR code. Doing this would allow an application to present information that is relevant to the user, while the hidden code could still be scanned at a check-out counter or kiosk.

In another potential use, Apple notes that "invisible light" could be used to help illuminate a user's face or surroundings. Doing this could enable features such as facial recognition in a dimly lit room, without needing to increase the brightness of the visible display.

The concept is detailed in a a patent application filed by Apple in November of 2013, and published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is credited to inventors Brian Shadle, Ehsan Farkhondeh, and Shin John Choi.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    hydrogenhydrogen Posts: 231member

    G.W. Bush       

     

     

    The invisible part of everything that you thought you could see, you can't see.

     

     



    -- Interview with ITN, Crawford, Texas, Apr. 5, 2002

  • Reply 2 of 17
    fred1fred1 Posts: 359member
    Mine already shows stuff I can't see or anyone else. I think . . .
    Still not sure what the point is. "Hey, here's the QR code. I think."
  • Reply 3 of 17
    michael_cmichael_c Posts: 164member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fred1 View Post



    Mine already shows stuff I can't see or anyone else. I think . . .

    Still not sure what the point is. "Hey, here's the QR code. I think."



    It's one way to increase the useable real estate without increasing the size of the display.

  • Reply 4 of 17
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,524member
     
    subliminal advertising ====> Thank you for your order!
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Wow, that's an interesting technology and a practical application. Can only mean one thing. Doomed!
  • Reply 6 of 17
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Interesting, but I file this under "patent anything you invent, because you never know."

    In actual practice, I expect wireless solutions would be superior.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    Interesting, but I file this under "patent anything you invent, because you never know."



    In actual practice, I expect wireless solutions would be superior.



    A few examples off the top of my head where wireless isn't a better (or available) option:

     


    • Threema is a secure messaging app that requires each user share a QR code with the other ideally in person to prevent a man-in-the-middle compromise. Doing this with invisible light would allow iMessage and Facetime to reach an even higher level of security, as it's currently impossible to inject an image into a lightfield the same way that a person can inject wireless packets.

    • No network or wireless required to share information locally. Ideal for scenarios where radios are not permitted. (e.g. many airlines don't allow radios to be active during flight.)

    • A person could easily share data to a huge number of recipients in the line of sight without flashing an obnoxious visual pattern. (Think epilepsy.)

    • Displayed images can immediately convey metadata(e.g. author/copyright information) to viewer's devices without interrupting the image or requiring a network connection.

  • Reply 8 of 17
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,872member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Hydrogen View Post

     

    G.W. Bush       

     

     

    The invisible part of everything that you thought you could see, you can't see.

     

     



    -- Interview with ITN, Crawford, Texas, Apr. 5, 2002




    I misunderestimated you!

  • Reply 9 of 17
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,521member
    hydrogen wrote: »
    <span style="color:rgb(0,0,0);text-indent:-108px;">G.W. Bush       </span>



    <span style="color:rgb(0,0,0);text-indent:-108px;">The invisible part of everything that you thought you could see, you can't see.</span>



    <br style="color:rgb(0,0,0);text-indent:-108px;">
    <span style="color:rgb(0,0,0);text-indent:-108px;">-- Interview with ITN, Crawford, Texas, Apr. 5, 2002</span>

    What was this in reference to?
  • Reply 10 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,499member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post



     

    subliminal advertising ====> Thank you for your order!



    "Welcome back to The Gap, Mr. Nakamoto!"

     



    "How'd those assorted tank tops work out for you?"

  • Reply 11 of 17
    hydrogenhydrogen Posts: 231member

    @flaneur

     

    -- Offering his appraisal of the Palestinian/Israeli situation, Interview with ITN, Crawford, Texas, Apr. 5, 2002

     

    (don't ask me what question he was answering through this !)

     

    Very often, thinking of this particular statement (my favorite one), I think G.W. Bush wisdom has been deeply misunderestimated.....

  • Reply 12 of 17
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    In another potential use, Apple notes that "invisible light" could be used to help illuminate a user's face or surroundings. Doing this could enable features such as facial recognition in a dimly lit room, without needing to increase the brightness of the visible display.

     

    This aspect of the patent sounds a lot like the Primesense technology Apple acquired.

    I could envision the iPhone projecting an invisible structured light pattern that could be used to interact with the phone without touching the screen.

  • Reply 13 of 17
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,521member
    hydrogen wrote: »
    @flaneur

    -- Offering his appraisal of the Palestinian/Israeli situation, Interview with ITN, Crawford, Texas, Apr. 5, 2002

    (don't ask me what question he was answering through this !)

    Very often, thinking of this particular statement (my favorite one), I think G.W. Bush wisdom has been deeply misunderestimated.....

    Thanks. It is profound, without getting him tangled up in his anathema:

    "I don't do nuance."

    That one keeps coming back to me. I guess it haunts me.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,898member
    nagromme wrote: »
    Interesting, but I file this under "patent anything you invent, because you never know."
    Bar codes are extremely cheap and thus the readers are everywhere. This is a big advantage that won't go away anytime soon. Beyond that they work in places where RF communications can be a problem.
    In actual practice, I expect wireless solutions would be superior.

    Maybe. I just don't see a rapid move away from barcodes, though from the standpoint of an Apple device the ability to read those codes should be of high concern. In fact the ability to read barcodes is so important that I often wonder why Apple hasn't created an API for iOS to do just that. Producing a barcode on screen has a more limited set of use cases.

    As an aside, I have at least three different apps on my iPhone designed to read barcodes. I use these frequently at work to verify barcodes that are seen in various steps of the processes at work. Very handy apps to have.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

     



    I misunderestimated you!


     

    Be careful that you don't over exaggerate. 

  • Reply 16 of 17
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    flaneur wrote: »
    What was this in reference to?

    It was taken out of context, and he no longer runs the country.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Invisible could be infrared or ultraviolet. Did the patent application say which or is Apple leaving that detail open?
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