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  • Apple Patent for Multi-Player AR Gaming Released

    Apple appears to be looking into taking multi-player augmented reality (AR) gaming big-time, with a newly-revealed patent application that aims to create a real-world game space using networked iPhones' GPS, motion sensors and cameras. The patent is broadly-worded, indicating that Apple might be just "squatting" to keep any other developer from patenting it first, but contains enough specific content about calibrating device locations to suggest that there has been some significant AR work underway in Cupertino.

    In general, the term augmented reality just means overlaying graphics and information on a real-time view of your actual surroundings. Usually this involves heads-up displays like a fighter pilot would use, but more recently the term has become more general to include technology like the Layar augmented reality browser. The Layar iPhone app uses the camera to show the location of things around you, such as ATMs, restaurants, houses for sale, hotels and so forth. AR gaming is still in its infancy, largely due to a lack of the ability for players to locate each other and communicate details on the shared virtual game space.

    Apple's patent, filed in April 2009, is called "Interactive Gaming with Co-Located, Networked Direction and Location Aware Devices." It describes a vaguely-defined "interactive game environment" that would include "two or more co-located, networked, direction and location aware interactive game devices." The devices would be able to track and report their own position and orientation relative to "a common geographic reference frame." The patent goes into some detail about the exact method the devices would use to calibrate their location and movement. A game of "laser tag" is used to illustrate how players would be able to use their devices to "tag" each other without needing to project a light beam in the real world. The patent goes on to expand on the concept in various ways, including a method to map real world coordinates to a virtual world, so players who are not even within eyesight of each other can game over a large region.

    Apple has been known to stake claims just to prevent anyone else from getting control of a particular technology. Anyone wanting to deploy this kind of gaming environment would likely have to clear it with Apple first, and pay license fees. In fact, the language can be read to to cover any kind of a mobile computer (including smartphone) in this type of interactive gaming. At the same time, the specificity does make it look like there's at least a few people at Apple working pretty seriously on AR.

    Source: AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Patent for Multi-Player AR Gaming Released started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. McMichael96's Avatar
      McMichael96 -
      Did anyone else hear anything more about Apple releasing the finel version of iOS 4.2 (I mean a public release not GM seed)
    1. mmurphmsu's Avatar
      mmurphmsu -
      Quote Originally Posted by McMichael96 View Post
      Did anyone else hear anything more about Apple releasing the finel version of iOS 4.2 (I mean a public release not GM seed)
      Don't hijack this thread. Go start a new one.

      I don't see this taking off. To me, if this is like laser tag with out the laser, how would that be any fun? You risk damaging your phone or other device if you get really into it.
    1. zoso10's Avatar
      zoso10 -
      Does anyone else find it ironic that the characters look like the little guy from Windows Messenger?
    1. Dark-Mind's Avatar
      Dark-Mind -
      Windows live must sue Steve Jobs :/
    1. bewie's Avatar
      bewie -
      Quote Originally Posted by mmurphmsu View Post
      ... You risk damaging your phone or other device if you get really into it.
      Maybe they're also working on a miniature force field for your phone, haha.
    1. athleticswimmer's Avatar
      athleticswimmer -
      Next thing you know it were gonna be able to put our hands through the phone and shake the other guys hand on the line...or even better yet!!! Travel through time......oh apple
    1. awesomeSlayer's Avatar
      awesomeSlayer -
      For some reason, I'm not even sure if I can believe it.
    1. vruls's Avatar
      vruls -
      i enjoy gaming on my ipod4,this idea is to elaborate for a tiny little screen like that, i really think apple needs to get on to the gaming console department if they are going to do such elaborate ideas like this
    1. muttstuffle's Avatar
      muttstuffle -
      Lolz apple's patent would be null someone already made patent software that does this on a computer
    1. SirZyrion's Avatar
      SirZyrion -
      Didn't Apple approve the GeoChasers augmented reality application last year?

      geoChaser - iPhone Apps Plus

      GeoChaser is the first multiplayer first person shooter played in the real world.

      Go geochasing friends and strangers with your iPhone. Be fast, be quick. Everyone could be an enemy. And always remember that every chaser will also get chased.

      Play it inconspicuous like an agent, hidden like a Ninja or offensive like a pirate.

      GeoChaser uses GPS to locate you and your opponents. Your positions will be displayed on a map. Switch to combat mode when you are close to an enemy and shoot a picture with the camera.

      Augmented Reality helps you locate your opponents.

      Tell your iPhone friends and go geochasing.

      There can be only one winner and the world is your playground."

      I have it on my iPhone aleady. I sure hope those guys patented the idea.