Apple patent application reveals iPhone, Apple Watch data transmission via invisible light

“On May 7, 2015, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to the transmission of invisible light and, more particularly, to the transmission of data using invisible light via a display assembly of an electronic device like an iPhone, Apple Watch or other future devices,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

The device’s display may be configured to transmit invisible light data onto and through a second region of the display surface. In some embodiments, invisible light data may be transmitted by the display to provide the data necessary to redeem the ticket described by textual information visible light data. Therefore, in some embodiments, invisible light data may be generated and transmitted under the control of the same application as GUI 170 (e.g., an airline ticketing application).

“The technology is already working with the Apple Watch as was shown in Apple’s video called ‘Rise,'” Purcher reports. “The Apple Watch in context with an airline boarding pass is shown at the 38 second mark of the video.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s “Rise” video appears to show a standard QR code that is scanned at the airport gate. It’s not clear if the technology described in the patent application above is already in use in the current Apple Watch models.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


    1. From the patent application (but for some reason not the article about it):

      “It is also to be understood that visible light may include all electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye. Such visible light may have a wavelength in the range of about 360 nanometers to about 740 nanometers. Invisible light may include electromagnetic radiation that is not visible to the human eye, such as ultraviolet light below 360 nanometers and infrared light above 740 nanometers.”

  1. But there are embodiments already published for pairing a Watch with a phone where “invisible ” means fooling the eye by rapidly alternating screens on the Watch whose colors essentially cancel each other out. The swirling cloud screen seen at the initial pairing is felt to implement this bit of virtual invisibility.

  2. And how is data on a light beam new or unique. When I was in graduate school back in the ’60s the university transmitted data across campus using a IR beam. Worked ok except in the rain.

    1. The IR system you are thinking about transmitted probably transmitted pulses (single pixel). The new technology will be displaying (or transmitting) RGB and IR/UV images. So, if we can play a music on a stereo and drive a dog mad with high pitch sound, can we display a scenic scenery in RGB and have dog get excited with a squirrel running around in IR?

  3. Late to the party, and nothing really to add — data via invisible light was in the hands of the masses years ago in a form that Palm called “Beaming” and Microsoft called “Squirting”

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