Feeds

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Apple's 3D recognition patent

New tech identifies tanks, faces, tumours and more

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Apple secured a patent yesterday on software to create and identify 3D models of faces, animals, aircraft, military vehicles and tumours in one of the more unusual tech patents to be awarded in recent months. This came to light after the US Patent and Trademark Office published a series of newly awarded patents.

Several other patents were awarded to Apple yesterday by the patent office, including patents for video encoding, virus scanning and a push notification system – but the 3D object recognition patent is the most ambitious of the set.

One photo of a face could enough for the new software to create an accurate 3D model of the person's head that could be used to identify them, thanks to the technique which uses corners and face features to recognise 3D objects. Several images or a short film of a face would create a much better model.

Apple's 3D object recognition patent, an illustration, credit US Patent and Trademarks Office

The 3D object recognition uses corners to create 3D models from 2d images

Apple bought the recognition tech in 2010 from Swedish company Polar Rose, which ran a search engine for faces that was pulled just before the Apple buy-out. Polar Rose founder Jan Erick Solem is a self-described computer vision guy who now seems to be working in California. He built the recognition software out of his PhD in applied maths, image analysis and image recognition, according to this write-up. The cunning trick is that it calculates where the camera is positioned in relation to the object and then does geometry to work out depth.

According to the patent, the technique is accurate enough to use in medical situations – to identify and model organs, tumours and even blood vessels and used as a basis for surgery.

The recovered 3D shapes of blood vessels or organs recovered from 2D projections, eg, using X-ray imaging may be used for navigating steerable catheters or aiding physicians by displaying the recovered 3D shape.

While 3D recognition software can apply to any 3D object, it has been specifically designed for special classes of objects including the following:

The object may be one or several of: a human face, a human body, inner organ(s) of a human body, blood vessel, animal, inner organs of an animal, a tumor, manufactured product(s) from an industrial process, a vehicle, an aircraft, a ship, military object(s).

Medical and military sound like major potential applications.

Apple points out that the face part could have applications in border controls, immigration and police surveillance: "Face recognition may be an effective way of identifying a person without the cooperation or knowledge of the person." The patented technique of using geometry to locate object corners overcomes the problem of different lighting and different poses in normal object recognition. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.