Apple seeks patents for display and noise-out systems

December 11, 2011 by Nancy Owano, weblog

( -- Apple made patent news this week in two directions, toward a Kinect like system and toward a quest for excellence in sound quality on phones. It’s been reported that Apple has filed patent applications for a 3-D image and display system, and for technology techniques that can deliver significant improvements in the audio quality of portable devices, especially in noise cancellation.

The application for a 3-D image and display system has drawn comments that sounds as if Apple is trying to catch up with the success of Microsoft’s Kinect, though time will tell what Apple specifically has in store.

Apple filed the in August for this 3-D motion tracking system that can respond to hand and finger movements.

According to Apple Insider, Apple wants to explore an “entirely new way” for users to work on their Mac, with a new system allowing users to perform gestures with their hands in a three-dimensional space.

The patent notes the need for “uncomplicated, economical, yet highly effective 3D input devices for computers.”

These devices need to be able to optically sense object or human positions, orientations, and/or motions, according to the patent application. In consideration of costs and convenience, it said, the devices need to be compact and able to fit into a small unit. They also need to be versatile, enough to work with a range of conventional consumer appliances.

The Apple patent application is a further sign, say observers, that computer users are being guided toward a future dominated by natural user interfaces. Futurists are certain that gestures and speech will surpass keyboard and mouse as ways to control computing devices.

The other patent filings are drawing special attention in light of the ubiquity of iPhones. The filings indicate that Apple is taking sound quality in phone calls to the next level, with technology that links with voice recognition.

Apple wants to improve the of a voice even when the user’s voice is fighting to be heard clearly on a call where there is shouting all around. This would be a step up in succeeding to do so, from other noise cancellation techniques that seek to filter out types of ambient noise such as machine sounds. The Apple approach is more like the inside out rather than outside in.

Apple’s technique will analyze all aspects of the user’s voice and filter out the rest. Apple’s system would identify the user’s voice using metrics such as average frequency and range, common speech sounds, and dynamic range. It could then recognize what part of the sound it needs to amplify and what it should cancel.

The “Siri factor” may help explain Apple’s focus on sound improvements, as Apple wants to see further inroads in voice recognition. What is evident is that four applications relating to sound improvements were discovered by Insider. The patents are User-Specific Noise Suppression for Voice Quality Improvements, Active Noise Cancellation Decisions in a Portable Audio Device, User Interface Tone Echo Cancellation, and System and Method for Removing TDMA Audio Noise.

Explore further: Apple applied for a patent to collect the location history of iPhone users in 2009

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Dec 11, 2011
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3 / 5 (18) Dec 11, 2011
make that a "we" really hate apple. I will not buy anything apple even if it were the last company on earth.
2.3 / 5 (18) Dec 11, 2011
Haters will always hate... If not for one reason, then another.
2.6 / 5 (16) Dec 11, 2011
Don't you find it odd to have issues with an innovative company on a science news site? Smart innovation wins in technological products, as it should. And, well, the maker gets to charge a premium until the market catches up. I am currently finishing my second novel written almost entirely on the iPad. For a writer such as myself, I find this little machine to be a god-send.
3 / 5 (14) Dec 11, 2011
"make that a "we" really hate apple. I will not buy anything apple even if it were the last company on earth."

Fully agree.
Bugs Nixon
3.2 / 5 (13) Dec 11, 2011
I don't think you all "hate" Apple. I think you "resent" Apple.

You resent the fact that they innovate and get things right and the rest of the tech industry has to copy and react to them.
4 / 5 (15) Dec 11, 2011
I think the negativity comes from all the patent bullshit like the lcd screens with the 'rounded corners'.
You resent the fact that they innovate and get things right and the rest of the tech industry has to copy and react to them.

Haha... Thats a joke. The kinect has been around for a while now. And noice cancellation isn't new technology either. At best this patent is a 'use' patent. Kindof useless as patents go.

I hate apple and I hate the patent system. I hate apple's brainwashed sycophantic lackeys. I hate apple's sales/brainwashing tactics. I could continue all day.. breathe... happy thoughts. happy thoughts..
2.4 / 5 (16) Dec 11, 2011
Pointless waste of energy to hate. Apple will dominate the world going forward. It is now inevitable. Might as well switch now, and get over your emotional attachments to inferior technology. Bill Gates got off the train years ago!
3.7 / 5 (15) Dec 11, 2011
Apple is losing ground everyday. All these articles are for is to give the illusion of having an exclusive product that can't be matched. Apple lackeys like to feel like they are part of a special club because of their overpriced patent moulded plastic that vibrates, sings them songs, and rubs them the right way.

Latest sales figures in the smartphone market showed android products dominating and apple phones declining. In the computer area apple has never been dominant.
3.5 / 5 (10) Dec 11, 2011
The only thing Apple invents or innovates is bogus patent claims. What it does well is strategically buy patents. It bought Fingerworks for their multi-touch tech for example (after FIngerwork's iGesture Pad - soiund familiar?). Apple then tries to clobber competitors with patent claims, most of which get ruled invalid, and it has been doing the same thing to torpedo standards processes (http://www.osnews...s_Again) for some time.
1.7 / 5 (11) Dec 11, 2011
you guys are mildly pathetic. how many of you against the grain rebels that cant like apple anymore cause everyone likes apple actually read the words up there
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 11, 2011
"Apple is trying to catch up with the success of Microsofts Kinect"

3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011
I was watching 3d gestures controlling computer interfaces successfully from MIT at least 20 years ago.

I think if I have a beef with anything it is our abused patent system that actually stifles innovation now. Tech companies seem to be less about innovation and more about broad as possible patent writing.
1 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011
Amazing how much hate can one company get. I don't understand it.
4.7 / 5 (3) Dec 12, 2011
Voleure got it right, its the broken patent system that we should hate. Plus a legal system that allows giant corporations to club smaller companies to death due to their deeper pockets even when the lawsuit is completely bogus. Simply defending yourself can be more expensive than caving in and paying royalties. As a start, the patent protection period needs to be substantially reduced to recognize the hectic pace of innovation.

Oh, and I hate Apple too.
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2011
Microsoft is already ahead of apple, they have research on-going for portable-projection system with kinect like abilities (depth cams for hand gestures). Basically you can project anything on any surface and make hand gestures on it, the system is quite big now because of the projector but imagine the industrialization process they will use pico-projectors.
I hate microsoft because of their past and anti-linux campaign and becaus of steve ballmer but you have to respect microsoft for innovation. Apple is just a patent troll that buys and steals patents or twists them for their gain, they dont even make their own hardware anymore because they fail so hard.
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 12, 2011
Anyone who markets a product that uses tech not currently on the market, definitely should try and patent it. That only makes sense. If all these tech ideas have been in the labs for decades, why hasn't anyone but Apple attempted to bring them to market? Apple is doing exactly what they should be doing. And I don't follow it like a sporting event. They win some and lose some. As a consumer, I intend to explore, do due diligence and use the products that give me the most benefit. This isn't a religion site guys! IMO, the iPad is a great machine, but I imagine someday, someone might beat it. I sincerely wish them luck. Either way, the consumer wins.
5 / 5 (4) Dec 12, 2011
Tech companies seem to be less about innovation and more about broad as possible patent writing.

I agree, but how to fix this? Perhaps the patent system should require the demonstration of a working prototype before a patent is granted. That might actually drive them to do the R&D so as to be sure they get there first.
4.4 / 5 (7) Dec 12, 2011
I see nothing wrong with most patents. It is when companies write broad patents, and don't produce anything, or license it to others, and simply sit and wait for something that they can pretend fits the broad outlines of something that is just an idea, not a an actual product, and then pounce in court, instead of producing anything, that I find really annoying.

So does that convoluted sentence but I think it parses and I can't see a way to fix it at the moment.

3 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2011
Since the overmoderators decided to remove my comment , i'll say again. Due to seemingly over processing of patent infringement lawsuits that waste millions of dollars and tie up the legal system in such activities , which pulls away from truly important and legit legal proceedings not to even begin on the technology oppression such activity has, I HATE APPLE.

There, hows that for not being off topic?

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