The story of the race between the rabbit and the tortoise has been told and heard time and again. We all remember the moral by heart – “slow and steady wins the race”. And yet, we often fail to implement it in real life!In this constant chase and follow race of technology giants, this basic rule is repeatedly forgotten. Apple however, is one company that lives by this rule. It has proven time and again, how being the first to market is not always the smart thing to do. Apple is known for its tactics of letting its competitors be the experimenters, while it lays back and learns from their mistakes.
The case of “fingerprint scanning” is a classic example of this. Apple patiently waited while its competitors were already out in the market struggling to deliver the promised standards of this technology. But when it did enter the market, it silenced critics and surprised customers by getting it just right!Apple is doing the same thing yet again – this time with advanced gaze controls. While Samsung has already been in the market for some time now with this feature, it has not gained as much positive response as it would have expected.
Apple’s recent invention covers eye tracking that will apply to all future iDevices, the MacBook and more notably, for use in your car, in a future gaming console or entertainment system. This invention, titled “Electronic Devices With Gaze Detection Capabilities,” is a divisional patent application that claims priority to a September 2008 filing covering the same topic.
The major challenge for Apple will be to overcome the problem of Troxler’s fading. Apple has suggested the following configurations in its application to resolve this issue:
In certain configurations, the eye tracking apparatus may include cameras or infrared transmitters and receivers, which are integrated into the display device itself.In other configurations, hardware that is free standing from display device, such as a headset or web camera may be included in the apparatus. Therefore, these configurations will include hardware, software, or a combination arranged to generate and transmit infrared or near-infrared signals from display device or eye tracking apparatus towards an object of interest such as a user’s face, or more particularly, a user’s eyes. Alternatively, reflections of these infrared or near-infrared signals may be used to detect the presence or absence of a feature of a user’s eyes, such as the presence or absence of an exposed pupil.
While the functioning and the practical applicability of this patent seems complex, we hope that Apple will incorporate this feature into iOS 7, and not just show renewed interest in this patent only as a means to refresh its patent portfolio for fresh legal attacks on its rivals.
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