updated 10:20 am EDT, Wed July 9, 2008
iSight, cooling patents
Apple has today been granted three patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office, relating to several different technologies. The first of these is entitled "Video Conferencing Apparatus and Method," and covers a particular implementation of webcams. The patent makes specific reference to the defunct external iSight cameras, but also applies to the internal ones incorporated into modern Macs, and could theoretically be used to create an iPhone video camera.
The second patent describes a "noiseless cooling device," meant to strip heat from internal electronics such as hard drives, batteries, CPUs and various other forms of circuitry. The technology relies on a piezoelectric system, which instead of operating a fan, vibrates a special surface to force air to circulate. Apple notes that this concept can apply not just to computers but cellphones, media players, power supplies and monitors.
The remaining patent describes a more CPU/GPU-efficient means of applying Gaussian blur. The technique involves several downsamplings followed by an upsample, and more importantly, using a "truncated" Gaussian filter in the down phase along with linear interpolation in the up phase. This is said to dramatically reduce the burden on processors, especially with a dedicated graphics chip, and more so as the size of a blur grows.