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Apple has been granted a patent – U.S. Patent No. 9,488,488, purchased by Apple from Flyby Media Inc. Regents of the University of Minnesota – for an augmented reality mapping system, building on the startup WiFiSLAM technology that the company acquired in 2013. Here’s an overview of the new innovation:

It’s an app

More specifically, a mapping app. It is able to tap into Apple’s advanced sensor suite and present the iPhone user with supplemented views of their immediate surrounds by utilising the phone’s live video camera.

Basically, it gives an all-encompassing field of view.

What does that mean?

Basically, it is able to assess the user’s immediate surroundings and present them with information such as the names of buildings, streets, monuments, parks, etc. and is able to measure the distance of routes.

It is primarily based on two principles

Firstly, it works on the principles with GPS data and onboard sensors, including gyroscope, a digital compass and accelerometer components, in order to locate the user’s exact location and thereby correlates the collected data to form a whole.

Secondly, it implements virtual reality (such as the virtual reality headsets made by Google), as well as augmented reality, (a highly detailed account of surrounds) in order to create a detailed account of the user’s immediate surrounds.

What’s so great about that?

By incorporating only the iPhone’s camera, the user is able to scan every nook and cranny of their environment to collect practical information. This is incredibly handy for navigating in uncharted areas, and means that applications like liquid GPS, online maps and voice commanding systems (which do have their fair share of frustrating drawbacks) will become defunct.

Furthermore, the user is able to switch from an immediate surrounding assessment to a bird’s eye-view (basically to a map) to gather knowledge of the greater area of their surroundings.

What does this imply for the future?

This is especially a step forward for autonomous (self-driving) vehicles, a much-discussed and prophesied technological innovation for the improvement of mankind.

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