It was only August that Apple was granted a patent for a future entertainment system. We covered in our report titled “Apple Wins a Surprising Patent for a Future Entertainment System that Could Respond to a user’s Presence & Activity.” Yesterday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a follow-up patent application from Apple relating to this same invention.
When expanding upon a patent, Apple files a continuation patent wherein all of the changes are noted in the patent claims. In yesterday’s patent claims Apple made slight yet important additions that they want protected.
Patent Claim #5: … “wherein the instructions stored thereon further cause the one or more processors to: acquire an image of the scene; detect a human face in the acquired image; employ the depth image to detect a head orientation associated with the detected human face; and correlate the detected human face with the head orientation.”
Patent Claim #6: The non-transitory program storage device of claim 5, wherein the instructions stored thereon further cause the one or more processors to: determine whether the user is engaging the first device based, at least in part, upon the correlated detected human face and the head orientation.
Patent Claim #12: “The method of claim 8, further comprising: acquiring an image of the scene; detecting a human face in the acquired image; employing the depth image to detect a head orientation associated with the detected human face; correlating the detected human face with the head orientation; and determining whether the user is engaging the first device based, at least in part, upon the correlated detected human face and the head orientation.”
In addition, Apple mentions “acoustic reflectance” six times that is new. For example, in Patent Claim #16 Apple notes that “The electronic device of claim 15, wherein the adjustment of the output of the electronic device caused by the one or more processors further comprises the one or more processors adjusting an audio output of the electronic device in response to the user’s location in the scene and an acoustic reflectance characteristic of at least one surface in the scene geometry.”
Apple’s patent FIG. 11 below shows an example process for analyzing user engagement.
Apple’s patent FIG. 13 above shows, in flowchart form, a gesture identification operation; FIG. 14 illustrates a three-dimensional image system that could interpret user hand gestures associated with an entertainment system.
Apple’s patent application 20180348885 was filed this past August and only 8 days after having their first patent granted to them. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.