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Apple granted iSight, cooling, Gaussian blur patents

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They finally got the patent on the device they basically killed (in the requisite apple manner, without nary a word - hey, maybe that's who got Hoffa).

  1. manleycreative

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "(in the requisite apple manner, without nary a word - hey, maybe that's who got Hoffa)."

    ...and your point is?

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Gaussian Blur patent-UI?

    Suggests to me using "live" blurring to enhance the UI, possibly simulating myopia on the desktop, or narrowing the aparent focal plane on existing deep-focus images.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Noisy blur!

    This multi-stage sampling sounds fast, lossy and noisy. Is it really, as Howard Stringer put it, the race to the bottom, with everything smaller, quicker or compressed with little regard for quality, MP3, AAC, HDV? When will we regret some of the things we disregard?

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