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Apple updates patents for placement of TrueDepth camera behind iPhone display and acoustic dosimetry for headset playback

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to the eventual elimination of the iPhone’s notch by repositioning the TrueDepth camera system behind the iPhone’s display.

Apple describes the iPhone as having a display with a front face and a back face. The display includes multiple pixel areas that emit light from the front surface to display a displayed image and multiple apertures that transmit light from the front surface to the back surface. The iPhone includes a camera located on one side of the back of the display. The camera is configured to take pictures.

iPhone includes a processor coupled to the display and camera. The processor is configured to receive the captured image and to apply a first digital filter to a first portion of the captured image and a second digital filter different from the first digital filter to a second portion of the captured image to provide a through reduce image distortion caused the screen.

Apple’s patent FIG. 2 below illustrates the current iPhone notch design and FIG. 3 shows a future iPhone design with the TrueDepth camera system hidden behind the back of the display images.

2 camera behind the display

Apple’s patent FIG. 4 above illustrates a future operating environment #400 in which the camera system is located behind the display images. Apple notes that “although the #420 camera doesn’t necessarily contact the #410 display, the camera is closer to the back (#418) of the display than it is to the front #417.

One of the key aspects of Apple’s invention concerns the recovery optics that sit between the display and the camera. In Apple’s follow-up patent since issuance in April, they have updated their patent claims to protect this key aspect of the invention. Apple listed “recovery optics” 26 times in 20 new patent claims. Listed below are only the first 9 new claims that focus on “restoration optics”.

  1. An apparatus comprising: a display having a front surface and a back surface, the display including a plurality of pixel regions that emit light from the front surface of the display to display a displayed image, and a plurality of apertures that transmit light from the front surface to the back; a camera arranged on a side of the back side of the display, the camera configured to capture a captured image; restoration optics disposed between the display and the camera, the restoration optics configured to reduce image distortion caused by the display; and a processor coupled to the display and the camera, the processor configured to apply a digital filter to at least a portion of the captured image to further reduce image distortion caused by the display.
  1. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the recovery optics enhance spatial frequencies corresponding to valleys in a point spread function of the display.
  1. The device of claim 1, wherein the recovery optics reduce spatial peaks in a point spread function of the display.
  1. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the recovery optics include an optical filter.
  1. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the recovery optics comprise a phase shift mask.
  1. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the recovery optics comprises at least one of a lens or a bandpass filter.
  1. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the camera includes a lens separate from the recovery optics.
  1. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the camera includes a bandpass filter separate from the recovery optics.
  1. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the processor is further configured to control the restoration optics to change a point spread function of the restoration optics.

To review the other 11 patent claims supporting recovery optics see Apple’s patent application number 20220179452.

Patent 2: AirPods rendition of acoustic dosimetry

Apple notes in its patent background that consumer electronics headsets are becoming more popular with users because they play media like music, podcasts, and movie soundtracks with high fidelity while not disturbing others nearby. While the listening experience with a headset is comfortable and the maximum sound output of a headset is limited according to hearing health safety standards, there is still a need to monitor the sound output of the headset over relatively long periods of time, such as days and weeks, as part of personal Hearing health monitoring aimed at avoiding long-term exposure to loud noises.

One aspect of Apple’s invention relates to digital signal processing techniques for monitoring how much sound energy is generated by a headset during playback while worn by a user. Other aspects are also described, including how to monitor the audio that is in the user’s surrounding listening environment.

Apple’s patent FIG. 4 below is a flow chart of an ambient acoustic dosimetry process.

(Click to enlarge the image)

3 x Acoustic Dosimetry - Apple Patent Figs

Apple’s patent FIG. 5 below illustrates an aggregated dosimetry process receiving multiple inputs from different devices.

4 - Apple patent FIG.  5 dosimetry process

In this important patent update, Apple adds 20 new patent claims to its invention entitled “Headset Playback Acoustic Dosimetry,” which you can see in patent 20220178738 here.

10.51XF - Continuation patent report bar

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