Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

Summary: Apple has been granted a patent on a method of projecting a 3D image that can be perceived properly without glasses.

TOPICS: Apple, Legal

Photo credit: US Patent and Trademark Office

Apple has been granted a patent on a method of projecting a 3D image that can be perceived properly without glasses.

Under the proposed system, each pixel would be projected onto a reflective, textured surface, and then bounced into a viewer's left and right eye separately, producing the 3D — or stereoscopic — effect. It would sense the locations of the eyes of each viewer, so multiple people could watch from a variety of angles.

The goal of this new technology is "inexpensive auto-stereoscopic 3D displays that allow the observer complete and unencumbered freedom of movement", according to the application granted by the US Patent Office on Tuesday. In other words, 3D displays should have no need for special glasses, and viewers should not be limited by viewing angle, or be forced to sit and not move in order to see the 3D effect.

For more on this story, read Apple patents glasses-less 3D projection on CNET News.

Topics: Apple, Legal

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  • Talk about a generic patent.

    Next, they'll patent wheels that roll backwards and forwards, regardless of direction.
    • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

      @rock06r Or legally copyright the word "apple" and force its removal from all literature.
      • yes, because every day, everywhere in nature is see..

        @Myoga- surfaces that are aware of the number and position of observers and each of their eyes.. and surfaces with millions of tiny mirrors that track movement of those observers eyes in real time and orient those millions of mirror to beam the light of images being projected on them independently into each of the eyes observers that is currently watching.. yes.. it seems a day doesn't go by that i don't see that in nature... lol.. are you for real??
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        @Myoga- LOL - Ouch!
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        @Myoga- Or copyright a way to rid zdnet of trolls.
    • I think they have a name for it

      it's called "sight" something life's been doing long before apple came into the picture.
      Ron Bergundy
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        @cyberspammer2 Apple is renaming it to iSight now!
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology


        Actually sight does not work like that. In fact, sight is the exact opposite process, unless you believe, like the ancient Greeks, that the eyes emit beams of light that allow them to see. It certainly is not how 3D is perceived.
    • ok, so tell us where you have seen that system before?

      @rock06r - you understand that, that one little picture and the blub in this article are not the extent of the patent submission right.. you know the people making these idiotic statements about patents have not patents to their name and have never made a patent submission in their lives.. waiting on batted breath for you to tell us all where you have seen this before..
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        @doctorSpoc <br><br>I DO have a patent or two (or three or four) and while the scoffers aren't totally correct, they're more correct than not.<br><br>ANd how many patentds do you have, Doc?

        Oh for the days when a WORKING MODEL was necessary to get a patent...
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        1) please delineate exactly where you feel the posters here are "more correct than not." They aren't.

        Also, as to your claim that you want to take the patent system back to 1880, why would you think, as this post implies, that there is NOT a working model?
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        @doctorSpoc tnx for sharing!
        <a href="">cavier</a> / <a href="">beluga caviar</a>
    • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

      @rock06r, that's Microsoft's strategic plan.
    • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

      @rock06r Yup, pretty generic alright. I have to say I'm not terribly impressed. It looks like one of their drones saw that Japanese spinning holotank and said, "lets see if we can patent doing this with a stationary mirror system". Nanotech could actually make this possible at low-rez pretty soon.. or you might not even need nano, just nano precision point-able lasers. if we optimize for horizontal bifocal display and make millions of vertical faceted 'half tubes' as the screen (say 1/2 degree), using 3 or 4 lasers (each of a different color) you could use those to point at the appropriate micro-mirror facets for your users. There might be brightness issues to deal with, and there'd be an optimal viewing range, but it would be a relatively low power device, and the screen would be 'dumb'. We have software that can track eyeballs already..
      Now that I think about it you could probably put something like this together for a single viewer for under a million dollars! Quick, someone write some no dcca poetry style code!
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology


        No - not at all generic, and I for one am not happy about it because I thought of doing something similar.

        Since I have not patented my idea I cannot complain, OK - I can complain but I won't get anywhere.

        The advantages of tracking the observers are at least 2 benefits:

        1. If you know where the observers are and you are rendering the content then you can cut the rendering down to the viewer's eyepoints. This cuts the rendering down considrerably from a volumetric system such as a spinning mirror.

        2. This system is stereoscopic, in that it shows 2 pictures to each observer. it can do this correctly for the observer's viewpoint.

        Now how is this the same as the generic concept of vision?

        Well, just like normal vision it shows an image to the observer, in this respect it is totally the same as every other imaging system ever developed. So if this is generic then every patent on imaging is actually generic and was invalid when filed.

        Optics is after all what the human eye does.

        Electronic image capture is what the human eye does.

        Chemical image capture is what the human eye does.

        No imaging patent is in fact novel by the stupid logic of the bloggers here.

        Now how else is it common, well it involves 2 eyes - and after all humans have had those for ages, and probably before the 1800's.

        The question here is, how long have humans used tracking systems to work out how to project images in front of their eyes to maintain a non-natural view of the world?

        Let's see - were cave men doing this?

        Was this done in the 1880's by some inventor who made a working model complete with computer system to control it?

        Can you find an example of when this is done now?

        So, this is generic how exactly?

        It certainly will improve the 3D image as perceived by the user as compared to the 3D technologies on sale now.

        As for the japanese spinning holotank - this is a definite improvement over that idea - which actually does not work really well with all content, and has massive rendering overhead. So maybe some engineer saw the Holotank, as did I and thought - that is messy, expensive, low quality and there must be a better way!!!

        So drone or engineer they did something to improve the world.

        And you are right - Nanotech could do this under a million dollars!!!

        Actually I have another idea for how to do the 3D better, for which the tracking is an improvement, but I think that another patent effectively stops me from patenting it.
  • Wow, the people posting here are amazing...

    Absolutely no understanding of what they are looking at or understanding it solves the problem they arecalways complaining about, the need to wear glasses when viewing TV.

    If this patent had microsofts name on it,they'd be raving about it. These are the same people that when the iPhone came out and revolutionized smart phones, they tried to post that their Windows phone had the same features years before.

    Any time they see the name Apple they have to post some comment that exposes their ignorance. Living proof that Bushes No Child Left Behind was a failure
    • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

      @ShazAmerica <br> I absolutely agree. I have 9 computers on a personal network 2 are Apple 7 are pcs running Windows and 1 Linux as I really enjoy Media Center and the ability to modify to my liking such as ram proc and video card, however the simplicity, reliability, and lack of malware on the Apples and linux box make the web more enjoyable. Most of the bitter complainers on this site seem to be Windows users (maybe with too many BSOD experiences or abused as children) that should get a life. Do you hear me Nonzealot ?
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        @partman1969@... See now that is funny, I have 6 on my gigabit LAN with 2 WAPs, 3 workstations are Win7 ( 2 Home 1 Pro)and 1 Linux (Kubuntu 10.10), 1 Linux Server(Ubuntu 10.10) and 1 Windows 2008 R2 Server, and I have NO complaints from anyone. No BSOD, or anything and two of them are my kids. They get updated and backed up to the server and I stream my ripped DVD's and all of the MP3 around the house. I have AirPort hooked up to the stereo so I can play the MP3 around the house our out on the deck and control it with my iPad or iPhone. It all just works. So maybe it's the administrator, or the equipment.
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology

        @partman1969@... I don't have those problems. I'm not sure why you do. I'm using Windows 7. You can take the first step to eliminate you malware and virus experiences by 1. Dumping IE. 2. Dumping outlook 3. Use a secure browser like, well anything really OTHER than IE.
      • RE: Apple patents glasses-free 3D technology


        "and two of them are my kids. They get updated and backed up to the server"

        I am glad that your kids are backed up to your server. You can never be too careful these days, I guess.