This week, we appear to be in the grasp of the Summer Doldrums. I have 103 technology companies on my patent “watch list.” Only four companies were awarded patents, and of these, only one, Google, had anything close to the “normal” number we have been seeing since the start of the year.
Let’s then focus on Google, which had exactly 50 grants this week. (No rest for the folks at the Googleplex!) Of these, two caught my attention.
Patent 8,797,315 (“Segmented editor for tours of a geographic information system, and applications thereof”) covers improvements to a user’s ability to navigate through a three dimensional GIS (geographic information system). The example cited in the background section is a virtual sightseeing tour of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Using perspectives from what is described as a virtual camera, a person can start from one defined position and orientation that is captured in the GIS, say, looking at and up the Tower from the southern point on the compass, and by changing the position and orientation of the virtual camera, “the user can sightsee within the three-dimensional environment.”
The process covered in the patent makes better use of the archived information about the Eiffel Tower in the GIS database, specifically the virtual camera data stored in what is called KML (keyhole markup language). The result is a better sightseeing experience, affording the user with better control over the stored images to affect the sequencing of the stored views.
So, if a trip to Paris in not in your budget, you can still “see the sights” in a more effective way on your smart device, such as your tablet or laptop.
The other grant to Google that caught my eye is very much in line with recent headline stories about the company’s push into healthcare. The smart, connected device that Google is developing is its contact lens that can measure glucose levels in the wearer, and send the data to a physician or the wearer for evaluation. This effort is a joint venture with Novartis designed to advance the effort to control diabetes. Novartis is licensing Google’s “smart lens.” And this smart lens is the subject of the patent award this week.
Patent 8,798,332 (“Contact Lenses”) describes the means to determine a wearer’s identity through the use of sensors that measure aspects of the iris. Secure identification is the overall description of the use of the lenses described in the Background section. There is no mention of the capacity of the lenses to ascertain glucose measurements.
However, if you go to the first prior patent cited in the References, Patent 3,958,560 (“Non-invasive Automatic Glucose Sensor System”) awarded to a sole inventor on May 25, 1976 – that’s 38-years-ago! – the association of glucose measurement as a function of the lenses is clear.
PARC Xerox had an interesting patent award this week. Patent 8,796,112 (“Geometry and Design for Conformal Electronics”) describes a method of forming three dimensional electronic devices, specifically image sensors and displays. Current fabrication methods rely on forming two dimensional displays, then cutting and reforming them to make three dimensions. This is costly and requires additional processes to adjust the imaging to the new dimensions. Bending, or “conforming” devices to three dimensional structures can be a better means to the end product. We will keep an eye on this as the implications creating three dimensional LDC displays are intriguing.