Friday, August 12, 2011

Apple Files Patent for Projectors in Devices

Apple projectorApple just recently filed a new patent which they just published that hints at the fact that projectors could one day end up in some Apple devices including things like the iPhone, iPad or as an accessory in the company's line of notebooks in order to help make it easier to share content with others.

The application entitled "Projected display shared workspaces" was filed back in February 2010 and pulled up yesterday morning by Patently Apple. The patent outlines a system for taking what is on screen and projecting it onto a close surface. The interesting thing about the proposed system in this particular patent is that it has the ability to combine projections from multiple devices into one screen, hence the name "shared workspace".

The patent application notes that "consumers frequently share data stored on electronic devices with other people," however, portable devices usually come with small screens, thus making it harder for people to share things with a group. Apple's solution promises to solve all of that by offering a way for devices that have projectors to link up to one another. The result would be a bigger canvas for presenting media and other documents, using something like a server or Bluetooth to transfer the data between devices.

Another interesting piece of information that goes hand in hand with this patent application is the fact that Apple is connected to the domain Applepico.com. Pico Projectors are the commonly used phrase for small projectors found on point-and-shoot cameras, cell phones or as standalone devices.

However, this is not the first Apple patent application to look into integrating projectors onto portable devices. Another filing that was uncovered back in April of 2010 detailed the construction of a projector in a notebook. One month before that, another filing was shown detailing how projectors could be used if attached to a phone. This led to a 2007 patent filing which detailed using attached or built-in projectors in order to display media.

Pico projectors are continuously getting smaller with new technology constantly decreasing the physical space and power required to put a built-in projector on a portable device. Alps Electric just recently announced a new lens that measures just under 1mm square. Alps Electric plans on producing these lenses in bulk by the end of 2012.

Source: CNET - Apple patent filing details devices with linked projectors


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