Recently, there have been quite a number of interesting patents revealed by the USPTO which have been found to have originally been filed by Apple.
The latest in this series is U.S. Patent No. 0120227, which is entitled “Multi-Point Touch Focus.” The patent describes a “camera [which] includes a lens arranged to focus an image on an image sensor and a touch sensitive visual display for freely selecting two or more regions of interest on a live preview image by touch input.”
In short, Apple has patented the ability for a touch-enabled device to be able to specifically focus on two regions of a scene to be taken with an on-board camera unit and which have been previously selected by the user.
Apple describes that the method would take advantage of an “image processor [which has been] coupled to the image sensor and the touch sensitive visual display.”
The image processor displays the live preview image according to the image focused on the image sensor by the lens. The image processor further receives the selection the regions of interest and controls acquisition of the image from the image sensor based on the characteristics of the image in regions that correspond to at least two of the regions of interest on the live preview image. The image processor may optimize sharpness and/or exposure of the image in at least two of the regions of interest. The image processor may track movement of the selected regions of interest.
Published this week, the patent was originally filed by the Cupertino company on November 16, 2010, and credits Richard Tsai of Cupertino, CA as its inventor. That patent covers a number of intentional classes, too, including: H04N 5/232, 20060101 H04N005/232, H04N 9/73 20060101 and H04N009/73.
Apple is currently expected to debut its next-generation iPhone, which theoretically could feature the above-described technology – (and possibly carry a display larger than 3.5-inches) – sometime later this year.