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Apple’s New Granted Patent: Augmented Reality Maps

  • Nov 10,2016 | News
  • By Admin


“Apple’s New Granted Patent: Augmented Reality Maps”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published on Tuesday a series of 63 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. Among them, the U.S. Patent No.9,488,488 for “Augmented reality maps” give some details about a mapping app capable of tapping into iPhone’s advanced sensor suite to present users with real-time augmented views of their surrounding environment. If this technology can be applied to Apple’s devices in future, that would be a good news for users who has a poor sense of direction.

The patent details an augmented reality mapping system that can harness iPhone hardware to overlay visual enhancements onto live video. Think about this scenario. Users might activate their iPhones’ rear-facing camera if they navigate to an AR feature within the Maps app, and the system will automatically correlate data collected from onboard sensors with GPS data to pinpoint iPhone’s position in space, tilt and alignment. Then digital information like street names, points of interest and many more are overlaid on the live video taken from the hand-held device’s camera.

As the patent describes, the mapping system can utilize the sensor in iPhone to collect information, including gyroscope, digital compass and accelerometer components, and place AR mapping in a video taken with the device’s camera. It also mentions that the system can switch views on the device screen from live video to a birds-eye map view, making transitioning into and out of AR mode a seamless experience.

Apple first applied for this patent in August 2011. At that time VR and AR have not become a trend like now. Presumablly the company plans to implement an iOS-based AR strategy in the near future.

Currently the technology is on patent stage, and there is no evidence if Apple decide to make it a reality. But the company’s CEO Time Cook has stated recently that Apple is interested in the augmented reality technology and its prospect. “I think augmented reality is extremely interesting and a kind of basic technology. So, Yes, this is based on what we plan to do a lot of things,” he said. Anyway, we think it totally possible that the future version of iPhone could get an augmented reality mapping app.

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