Apple patent is for interactive, augmented reality displays on iPhones, iPads

Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,176,637) for “synchronized, interactive, augmented reality displays for multifunction devices” that hints at increased augmented reality (AR) features on iPhones and iPads. Such features debuted with iOS 12, so expect the tech giant to take ‘em to the next level.

Per the patent, a device can receive live video of a real-world, physical environment on a touch sensitive surface, so it appears the invention would work with an iPhone or iPad. One or more objects can be identified in the live video. An information layer can be generated related to the objects. 

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In some implementations, the information layer can include annotations made by a user through the touch sensitive surface. The information layer and live video can be combined in a display of the device. Data can be received from one or more onboard sensors indicating that the device is in motion. 

The sensor data can be used to synchronize the live video and the information layer as the perspective of video camera view changes due to the motion. The live video and information layer can be shared with other devices over a communication link.

In the patent filing, Apple nots that AR technology combines a live view of a real-world, physical environment with computer-generated imagery. Information about the real world environment can be stored and retrieved as an information layer which can be overlaid on the live view and interacted with by a user. 

Apple says that, despite strong academic and commercial interest in AR systems, many existing AR systems are complex and expensive making such systems unsuitable for general use by the average consumer. Apparently, the tech giant thinks it can overcome such hurdles.