Apple’s PrimeSense Tech Turns 2D into 3D

An Apple patent, describing a method for rendering 2D images and video so that they appear 3D, has been discovered at the US Patent & Trade Office. According to Patently Apple, the effect is achieved by simulating the imaging characteristics of the parallax effect and depth of field.

Click to enlarge. An example of a simulated three-dimensional image at two orientations.Three main input elements are described: content (an image or video); a method to segment the content into two or more regions; and relative orientation information between the display and viewer (this can be done using the device’s built-in camera).

As the viewer changes his or her position relative to the display, the image also shifts. Different segments are altered to simulate parallax and depth of field. Parallax adjustments can be achieved through altering the position, scale, rotation, perspective or distortion of the image segment. Depth of field adjustments require manipulation of blur, sharpness, scale, position, rotation, colour, contrast, saturation, hue and luminance of the segment. The various segments are then rendered as separate plans, and superimposed on top of each other.

Different ways to segment the image exist. For example, a series of images captured at different focusing points, or only two exposures; or one taken with a flash and one without. Some images, such as portraits, where the subject is isolated from the background, are more easy to segment.

Analyst Comment

This patent uses technology that Apple gained through its acquisition of PrimeSense (Display Monitor Vol 20 No 45). (TA)