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Apple’s new patent: the future iPhone camera may capture the direction of light propagation and improve the AR experience

The current iPhone camera captures the light intensity in the scene, but future cameras may do more. Using light field photography, the camera system can capture the direction of light propagation and record the position of different objects in the field of view. Apple recently received a new patent called “Panoramic Light Field Capture, Processing and Display.” This patent shows that the future iPhone camera can capture the direction of light propagation, and may provide more 3D details, thereby improving Apple’s AR experience.

This patent focuses on how devices like the iPhone can be used to capture images and build data for the AR experience when users are free to move around. The patent details a light field panoramic system in which a user holding a mobile device performs a gesture to capture images of the scene from different locations. Other information such as location and direction information can also be captured.

Apple's new patent: the future iPhone camera may capture the direction of light propagation and improve the AR experience

Apple stated in the patent that images and information can be processed to determine metadata, including the relative position of the image and the depth of the image. The light field panorama can be processed by the rendering engine to render different three-dimensional views of the scene, so that the audience can view different The position and angle of the explore the scene with six degrees of freedom, bringing parallax perception to users. So when the image is rendered in virtual reality, the objects in the scene will move correctly according to their position in the world and the viewer’s relative position to them.

Apple's new patent: the future iPhone camera may capture the direction of light propagation and improve the AR experience

Apple said that compared to viewing computer rendered content in a virtual reality system, the image content will bring photo-realism. Like the usual patents, this patent focuses on key technologies and does not pay special attention to use cases or potential problems. In this case, a key issue is that devices that capture 3D details require powerful performance. Therefore, Apple previously had another patent that focused on how devices such as the iPhone or Apple headset capture image data, and then wirelessly send it to another device for processing.

Apple's new patent: the future iPhone camera may capture the direction of light propagation and improve the AR experience

Apple believes that another device or base station may provide more computing power than a traditional stand-alone system, and wireless connections will not tether the device to the base station like a traditional tethered system.

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