News Column

Patent Issued for Calibration of Portable Devices in a Shared Virtual Space

May 21, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Weising, George (Culver City, CA); Miller, Thomas (Santa Monica, CA), filed on September 3, 2013, was published online on May 6, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8717294 is Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (San Mateo, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to methods, devices, and computer programs for controlling a view of a virtual scene with a portable device, and more particularly, methods, devices, and computer programs for enabling multiplayer interaction in a virtual or augmented reality.

"Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-simulated environment, whether that environment is a simulation of the real world or an imaginary world, where users can interact with a virtual environment or a virtual artifact either through the use of standard input devices or specialized multidirectional input devices. The simulated environment can be similar to the real world, for example, simulations for pilot or combat training, or it can differ significantly from reality, as in VR games. Virtual Reality is often used to describe a wide variety of applications, commonly associated with its immersive, highly visual, three-dimensional (3D) environments. The development of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, graphics hardware acceleration, head-mounted displays, database gloves, and miniaturization have helped popularize the notion.

"Augmented Reality (AR) provides a live view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery to create a mixed reality. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on television during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable.

"The term Augmented Virtuality (AV) is also used in the virtual reality world and is similar to AR. Augmented Virtuality also refers to the merging of real world objects into virtual worlds. As an intermediate case in the Virtuality Continuum, AV refers to predominantly virtual spaces, where physical elements, e.g. physical objects or people, are dynamically integrated into, and can interact with the virtual world in real-time. The term VR is used in this application as a generic term that also encompasses AR and AV, unless otherwise specified.

"VR games typically required a large amount of computer resources. Implementation in handheld devices of VR games is rare and the existing games are rather simplistic with rudimentary VR effects. Additionally, multiplayer AR games allow for the interaction of players in a virtual world, but the interactions are limited to objects manipulated by the player in the virtual world (e.g., cars, rackets, balls, etc.) The virtual world is computer generated and independent of the location of the players and the portable devices. The relative location of the players with respect to each other and with respect to their surroundings is not taken into account when creating a 'realistic' virtual reality experience.

"It is in this context that embodiments of the invention arise."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Embodiments of the present invention provide methods, systems, and computer programs for generating an interactive space viewable through at least a first and a second handheld devices are presented. It should be appreciated that the present invention can be implemented in numerous ways, such as a process, an apparatus, a system, a device or a method on a computer readable medium. Several inventive embodiments of the present invention are described below.

"In one embodiment, a method includes an operation for taking an image with a camera in the first device. In addition, the method includes an operation for determining a relative position of the second device with reference to the first device, based on image analysis of the taken image to identify a geometry of the second device. Furthermore, the method includes operations for identifying a reference point in a three-dimensional (3D) space based on the relative position, and for generating views of an interactive scene in corresponding displays of the first device and the second device. The interactive scene is tied to the reference point and includes virtual objects, and each view shows all or part of the interactive scene as observed from a current location of the corresponding device.

"In another embodiment, a method, for generating an interactive space viewable through at least a first device and a second device, includes an operation for taking an image with a camera in the first device, where the first device and the second device are handheld devices. In addition, the method includes an operation for determining a relative position of the second device with reference to the first device based on image analysis of the image to identify a light source in the second device. Further yet, the method includes operations for identifying a reference point in a three-dimensional (3D) space based on the relative position, and for generating views of an interactive scene in corresponding displays of the first device and the second device. The interactive scene is tied to the reference point and includes virtual objects, and each view shows all or part of the interactive scene as observed from a current location of the corresponding device.

"In yet another embodiment, a method, for generating an interactive space viewable through at least a first device and a second device, includes an operation for taking an image with a camera in the first device, where the first device and the second device are handheld devices. In addition, the method includes an operation for determining a relative position of the second device with reference to the first device, based on image analysis of the image to identify a graphic shown on a second display of the second device. Additionally, the method includes operations for identifying a reference point in a three-dimensional (3D) space based on the relative position, and for generating views of an interactive scene in corresponding displays of the first device and the second device. The interactive scene is tied to the reference point and includes virtual objects, and each view shows all or part of the interactive scene as observed from a current location of the corresponding device.

"Other aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrating by way of example the principles of the invention."

For additional information on this patent, see: Weising, George; Miller, Thomas. Calibration of Portable Devices in a Shared Virtual Space. U.S. Patent Number 8717294, filed September 3, 2013, and published online on May 6, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=64&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=3181&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140506.PD.&OS=ISD/20140506&RS=ISD/20140506

Keywords for this news article include: Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.

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Source: Journal of Engineering


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