Apple patents augmented-reality mapping tech

Apple patent 8400548 (drawing 001)

Apple Tuesday was granted a patent for technology enabling integrating augmented reality, the power of the Internet and smart device communications. A key component to the company’s take on augmented reality is a system that recognizes live real-world objects, then builds 3D representations useful for mapping and annotating shared data. The patent, filed in 2010, is entitled “Synchronized, interactive augmented reality displays for multifunction devices.”

In one potential use, an iDevice camera photographs a circuit board. A layer placed over the image then identifies the components and permits a team to exchange annotations, including text, web links and even images. But this only scratches the surface of how Apple envisions the future of mobile augmented reality…

Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,400,548 filing educates us on augmented reality:

A device can receive live video of a real-world, physical environment on a touch sensitive surface. One or more objects can be identified in the live video. An information layer can be generated related to the objects.

In some implementations, the information layer can include annotations made by a user through the touch sensitive surface. The information layer and live video can be combined in a display of the device.

Along with layering data over a live image, Apple’s proposed technology could create a second display created solely by the device.

One example outlines an iDevice user surveying the San Francisco cityscape. While one windows displays the live scene, another window draws a 3-D interpretation, includes landmarks and then sends it to another user.

Apple patent 8400548 (drawing 002)

Once received, the data is used as a map, allowing the second person to enjoy the same site – and perhaps even meet up with the sender for a coffee.

Data can be received from one or more onboard sensors indicating that the device is in motion.

The sensor data can be used to synchronize the live video and the information layer as the perspective of video camera view changes due to the motion.

The live video and information layer can be shared with other devices over a communication link.

Apple’s patent comes amid talk of Google’s glass, which combines real-life images with data pulled from the Internet.

The technology Apple now outlines is not the company’s first foray into augmenting how consumers view the nexis of technology and reality.

Prior to this, we reported on a series of Apple patents which spanned wearable computing, and how iDevices could be harnessed.