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Apple Invents an optical system with Microlens Array Projectors to advance time-of-flight sensing for Face ID, delivering more realistic AR/VR features+
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: July 21, 2022 02:27PM
Apple Invents an optical system with Microlens Array Projectors to advance time-of-flight sensing for Face ID, delivering more realistic AR/VR features+
[www.patentlyapple.com]

Apple’s patent FIG. 1A below is a side view of projector #20. This sort of projector can be used, among other things, in projecting a pattern of spots onto a target scene, for example to serve as a structured-light pattern in a depth mapping system, such as used for Face ID.


Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to optoelectronic devices, and specifically to devices and methods for generating an array of optical beams. The invention provides improved microlens arrays and optical systems based on such arrays. This could be involve improving Face ID, future applications relating to Apple’s mixed reality headset and more.

Alternatively, this sort of optical scheme can be used in other applications requiring projection of a light beam or beams with high optical quality, such as projectors for time-of-flight sensing.

According to the company Analog Devices, time-of-flight applications could also be used in mixed reality headsets to enable more realistic AR/VR features.



This technology could also be used in future vehicles with autonomous features. For instance, in next-generation automobiles, ToF systems in the cabin will be able to monitor the position and the state of the driver and its passengers, taking over control and maneuvering the car to safety in cases where the driver becomes incapacitated.



Additionally, gesture control systems, made possible through ToF technology, are said to be the next-generation user interface for the car, allowing the driver to answer an incoming phone call, change an audio input source, or even adjust the climate control through simple gestures of the driver’s hand or fingers.
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