Apple patents an inexpensive 3-D projection system

Dec 03, 2010 by John Messina weblog
Apple patents an inexpensive 3-D projection system

(PhysOrg.com) -- The U.S. patent office has granted Apple a patent for a 3-D projection system that doesn't require the use of bulky 3-D glasses. This gives the viewer more freedom of movement and viewing angles.

The name Apple has given to this simple 3-D system is called, "Three Dimensional Display System." This auto-stereoscopic system works by projecting each pixel onto a reflective, textured surface, which is then bounced into a viewer's left and right eye separately; this produces the 3D or stereoscopic effect. By sensing the locations of both eyes of each viewer, multiple viewers could observe the 3-D effect from a variety of angles.

Each pixel is aimed at a curved surface, where it reflects onto the correct eye.

Apple is not the only company that’s involved in auto-stereoscopic R&D; however Apple's patent has picked apart the limitations of three categories of auto-stereoscopic system:

1. Ghost like or transparent images in volumetric displays.
2. The viewer required to remain stationary using the parallax barrier method.
3. The use of holographic images requires greater computer power and larger bandwidth, keeping the commercial cost higher that is required for other auto-stereoscopic systems.

Apple's auto-stereoscopic system tracks where the viewer is located and tailors its display to your position.

Apple’s main objective is to develop a 3-D glass-free auto-stereoscopic system that would give viewers the freedom to move around without being tied down to bulky 3-D glasses. ’s also promises to keep costs low and simplifying the system while maintaining performance.

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User comments : 20

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Sauvignon
5 / 5 (14) Dec 03, 2010
eh. Patents. Wasn't the original idea of the patent to protect the inventor from having his idea stolen? Why do corporations now get to own an idea? Is it that I'm just not grasping that 'we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all corporations are created equal with men, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness'?

They have all the rights of a person and none of the responsibilities. Something is very wrong.
that_guy
3.1 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2010
I doubt this will happen. Tracking each person's eyes individually is like adding the kinect to every tv, and expecting it to perfectly keep up 5 tasks at once without a single mistake or hiccup. Oops, you blinked! now it will be fuzzy for 3 seconds.
krundoloss
5 / 5 (12) Dec 03, 2010
The Words "Apple" and "Inexpensive" in the same sentence, ROFLMAO! You know this thing is gonna cost a buttload, only Doctors and Lawyers will have this one, just like Mac Computers!
plasticpower
5 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2010
The Words "Apple" and "Inexpensive" in the same sentence, ROFLMAO! You know this thing is gonna cost a buttload, only Doctors and Lawyers will have this one, just like Mac Computers!


You beat me to it haha
They manage to routinely mark up a piece of plastic that costs $1.20 to $49.99+tax and somehow sell out of it.
Ratfish
5 / 5 (8) Dec 03, 2010
They manage to routinely mark up a piece of plastic that costs $1.20 to $49.99+tax and somehow sell out of it.


They're selling fashion accessories, not technology.
Skepticus
4.4 / 5 (8) Dec 03, 2010
Apple patents an inexpensive 3-D projection system

This gets me laughing so hard I thought I'd die. After Apple patents, inexpensive is an obscene oxymoron!
Code_Warrior
2.6 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2010
eh. Patents. Wasn't the original idea of the patent to protect the inventor from having his idea stolen? Why do corporations now get to own an idea?

Most engineering employment contracts explicitly state that the corporation owns the rights to the ideas that you develop on their dime using their equipment and resources. That is only fair. If you have an idea that you believe is worth something, then you are free to develop it on your own time and your own dime, just don't use any corporation resources to do it.

Also, many inventors are bad businessmen and do not want the day to day hassles of running a business. They make thier money by selling or licensing their patents to corporations. If corporations were not allowed to own patents, those inventors would denied that source of income and their ideas would never see the light of day.
lengould100
3.3 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2010
Disagree Code Warrior. You're simply regurgitating the corporate mantra that's been drummed into you. Intellectual property, by definition intellectual and therefore not possible for an non-human paper creation of lawyers to produce, belongs to the producers only regardless of "employment contract" nonsense. The names on the patent documents should have the right to own the patents, after paying the corporation for legitimate resources used, if they choose, or they should be allowed to sell the "rights to use" to the corporation after compensating it.

If CEO's are worth multi-millions for simply temporarily over-hyping the share price, usually with untruths, half-truths and accounting lies, then the creative staff should have some rights to comparable compensation.
Shakescene21
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 03, 2010
Code Warrior is correct about patent ownership. These researchers were hired by Apple to develop this system, and probably would not have been able to do so without Apple underwriting the venture. Apple's patent is good for twenty years, after which the invention becomes public domain. I've never owned Apple stuff, but that may be about to change.
bfast
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2010
As one who has been that employee who came up with patentable technology, let me help Sauvignon and code_warrier out a bit here.

I am the inventor, not the company. Check with the patent office; every invention lists the individual human(s) who invented the thing. I sell my property to the company; normally this is done through pre-purchase agreement in my employment contract. However, even though the company has purchased my technology, I am still the inventor of record. When I compose my C.V., this fact is not forgotten. The company owns the technology, but I own the reputation. The patent office confirms my inventiveness to my next employer, who is usually very interested.

Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2010
The cost to patent something is usually quite high. It's not a matter of filing a paper and paying the stamp, as far as I know.

So the individual inventors kinda have to sell their inventions to a company because they can't afford to patent them, regardless of where and on whose money it is made. Even if they do, they often can't use the invention themselves and have to sell it.

It's the same as with books and paintings and music. The author holds the copyright to his work, but it's meaningless because in order to make money out of the work, he must sell the copyright to someone else.

And that someone else subsequently abuses the copyright, using it as a kind of money printing device because the IP is fundamentally limitless, but the company controls who gets to have it and at what price.
Bob_B
not rated yet Dec 04, 2010
Be a contractor for Apple and you get the sha-bang. Contractors are not employees.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2010
Move over Sony. Apple to dominate the world. Just waiting for my Apple big screen in Best Buy.
bfast
not rated yet Dec 04, 2010
I hope you realize how useless this technology is.
> First, it has to be projected, it won't work as a handheld display.
> Second, it only works for one viewer!
When is the last time you saw a projected image where you were the only audience member?
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Dec 04, 2010
at an all night showing of old John Carpenter films at about 4:00AM ...
tkjtkj
not rated yet Dec 04, 2010
eh. Patents. Wasn't the original idea of the patent to protect the inventor from having his idea stolen..


err.. Actually, no: the purpose of any patent is to give the patent-holder the right to sue.

but i am in sympathy with your point ... It's outrageous, isnt it...

Code_Warrior
1 / 5 (1) Dec 05, 2010
Disagree Code Warrior. You're simply regurgitating the corporate mantra that's been drummed into you.

No, I am regurgitating what is in my employment contract.
Intellectual property, by definition intellectual and therefore not possible for an non-human paper creation of lawyers to produce

Not true. Computers executing genetic algorithms have designed real world components from antennas to jet engine parts. Human beings input the desired performance specifications and program the simulation models. The machines use the simulation models to verify a design's fitness to the specification. The machines generate thousands of initial designs at random, none of which are likely to meet the spec. The designs are evolved through procreation and mutation until one is produced that meets or exceeds the specification. Such systems have produced novel designs never envisioned by any human that are the intellectual property of the corporations that own the computers.
eurekalogic
not rated yet Dec 06, 2010
Apple just turned into low life Chineese copy cats. They are now Toshiba tech thieves. They are late and Toshiba did it first. Claiming it makes them theieves.
Gena777
not rated yet Dec 06, 2010
I agree with Apple that watching 3D movies, TV, and other content with those glasses is anachronistic, and I congratulate the company on this patent. It looks to me like 3D TVs and internet TVs will constitute much of the market for television in the near future. Apple's sure to eventually rake in quite a decent amount in patent enforcement revenue on this technology.
http://www.indust...tionID=2
JVenter
not rated yet Dec 07, 2010
"By sensing the locations of both eyes of each viewer, multiple viewers could observe the 3-D effect from a variety of angles."

so does this mean the TV will need a projector for each person viewing the screen to get the angle correct ?