Jul 17

New Apple Patent: Light Field Cameras for more Immersive Video Calls with Augmented Reality

Apple’s latest light field patent describes the use of a camera array for immersive augmented reality (AR), live display walls, head mounted displays, video conferencing, and similar applications based on a user’s point of view. The patent application, simply titled “Light field capture”, talks about AR video conferencing where the user’s background can be replaced with other information (e.g. their own view of a scene, or live sports).

New Apple Patent: Light Field Cameras for more Immersive Video Calls and Augmented Reality (Picture: Motta et al. 2016)

The invention also includes concepts including pixel culling (i.e. following the user’s movements and cropping to the interesting parts of the entire camera view), conversion of 3D data to 2D views for the left and right eyes of the second party,
Interestingly, the authors also mention the possibility for a hybrid display/camera-array that would integrate both devices into a single, light-field sensing screen.

New Apple Patent: Light Field Cameras for more Immersive Video Calls and Augmented Reality (Picture: Motta et al. 2016)

For more information, check out Patently Apple and Patent US9681096 – Light field capture on Google Patents.

Jun 25

Patent: Integrated Light Field Sensor on a Chip

Patent: Integrated Light Field Sensor on a Chip (Figure by Kim 2017, modified by www.lightfield-forum.com) Current light field sensors typically consist of an imaging sensor and a separate microlens array, both of which are assembled into an optical system. While this allows the use of common CCD- or CMOS sensors, it may also introduce some issues where extreme precision is needed for optimal imaging conditions, e.g. with microlenses of micrometer-range focal lengths. A mismatch of these separately fabricated elements can affect image quality.
A new patent application by Jong Eun Kim at SK hynix (Korea) aims to solve these potential issues: The patent application details a novel light field imaging device where the microlens array is formed on top of the imaging sensor. Continue reading

Mar 13

New Apple Patent for Light Field Camera …in Manufacturing Processes

New Apple Patent for Light Field Camera ...in Manufacturing Processes (Picture: Apple) Light field imaging has captured the mind of many technology enthusiasts and imaging pioneers, and there have been rumours of light field cameras in future iPhones or Android smartphones.
Now a new patent has surfaced that shows Apple is still interested in light field cameras. The twist is, the proposed “plenoptic” (a.k.a. light field) camera system is intended to aid robots in the manufacturing process. Continue reading

Aug 17

Ricoh Patents Dynamically Adjustable Multimode Lightfield Imaging System

Ricoh Patents Dynamically Adjustable Multimode Lightfield Imaging System (Fig. modified from Shroff & Berkner 2014) Ricoh researchers Sapna A. Shroff and Kathrin Berkner have lodged a patent application that describes a new way to dynamically adjust the recording parameters of a light field camera. The US Patent and Trademark Office has recently published patent application US20140192255, entitled “Dynamic Adjustment of Multimode Lightfield Imaging System Using Exposure Condition and Filter Position”, in which the authors use a non-homogeneous filter module at the pupil plane of a multimode imaging system, which can be moved and thus used to modify the imaging system’s exposure conditions. Continue reading

Aug 05

Samsung Patents Modified Light Field Sensor with Monochrome Sub-Images

Fig. 6 from Samsung's patent application shows three exemplary colour-filtered light rays passing through microlenses to create monochrome sub-images (Fig. modified from Lee et al., 2014). In order to record colour images, camera sensors typically use a colour filter array consisting of red, green, and blue filters on top of the light-intensity sensing sub-pixels. After recording each sub-pixel’s light intensity, the so-called “demosaic” process combines four monochrome sub-pixels (2x red, 2x green, 1x blue) into a single pixel containing RGB colour information.
In microlens-based light field cameras, this “demosaic” job may result in a blur effect around the boundaries of objects in the final image.
Image Sensors World found a patent application by Samsung which can solve this blur-problem: In the patent application entitled “Photographing device and photographing method for taking picture by using a plurality of microlenses”, authors Tae-Hee Lee et al. propose moving the colour filter in front of the microlenses (instead of having them behind the microlenses), creating single-colour sub-images. Continue reading