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Apple's All-Seeing Screen 447

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the don't-leave-this-on-by-accident dept.
Based on a recent patent we may be seeing a new kind of display coming from the Apple store in the near future, one that can capture images as well as display them. From the article: "The clever idea is to insert thousands of microscopic image sensors in-between the liquid crystal display cells in the screen. Each sensor captures its own small image, but software stitches these together to create a single, larger picture."
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Apple's All-Seeing Screen

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  • Doubleplusgood! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wdomburg (141264) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:28PM (#15207421)
    "A large LCD screen filled with image sensors would be ideal for videoconferencing..."

    Or telescreens. I suddenly want to dig out the 1984 commercial again.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:29PM (#15207429)
    Big Brother? Check.
    Two-minute Hate (e.g. evening news)? Check
    Telescreen? Check.

    We have always been at war with Terrorism.
  • The iSight video camera was distinctive back when it was introduced for two reasons (versus most other web cams commonly used at that time). First, it connected via FireWire. Second, it came with mounting brackets (included, for free in the iSight box) to attach the camera securely to the top center of Apple's LCD monitors and laptop screens.

    The result of this second "innovation"? iSight video confernces looked significantly more natural and more natural than web conferences hosted using Logitech and other web cams that (typically) sat to the bottom right or left of the computer monitor (or awkwardly on top) and, hence, gave participants really skewed views of each others' faces.

    The innovation described in TFA is the logical next step of this eminently sensible design decision that Apple has been promoting for years.

    (Side note: the reason why the iSight demos in Apple keynote addresses look so darn good is that the participants are looking at the iSight camera, and not at the actual screen when they're doing the demo. It's a very subtle shift, but it still matters. Kind of a clever, sneaky way to make the product look even better than it actually does.)

  • Lenses? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:40PM (#15207536) Journal
    Unless they've also inserted thousands of tiny lenses the device is just a cute hack to create a no-moving-parts contact scanner. Put the thing you want scanned up to the screen and illuminate it with the screen's light. (You can get color by having the sensors sensitive to all the colors of the screen and flashing the screen in each color.)

    With lenses they could make it an insect-style compound eye. But the focus would probably be pretty rotten due to diffraction limits from the small size of the lenses. (You might be able to post-process some of that out, though.)
  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:45PM (#15207572)
    While Apple can be bad that way.

    This tech is for video conferencing. Instead of having to look at a camera you can look at the screen to whom your talking to.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:46PM (#15207587)
    How is it any scarier from a privacy angle than a webcam? You chose whether you buy this kind of monitor, after all. Its more convenient than a webcam, but not necessarily scarier. Sure, screens outside of your control could have this functionality, but its not like concealed cameras in spaces under otehr people's control aren't a possibility (and frequent fact) of life without these new monitors.
  • Re:Doubleplusgood! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @04:53PM (#15207649) Homepage Journal
    Not really sure how this differs from a monitor with iSight built in. Big-brother wise, that is.
  • by zpok (604055) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @05:07PM (#15207779) Homepage
    I'd love to just point and speak to my computer, and where convenient use a tablet or glove or whatever comes most natural.

    Reminds me of Sun's vision of the future. What was that video called? Starlight?
  • After all, if I'd told you ten years ago that by 2005, all cell phones would have a mandatory GPS tracker broadcasting your location to the phone company as you move about, with a nominal abilty to be switched off (ha), would you have believed me?

    No, I wouldn't have believed you, and I still don't. Know why? Because it's not true. At least, not here in the US. Also, at least in some GPS phones, the GPS cannot be switched off, period.

    At least two cellphone providers in the US balked long enough, getting extensions to their deadline for providing E911 service, that they managed to implement alternate technology for locating customers based on triangulation, and are not having to make GPS mandatory. It doesn't mean it will be any harder for them to find you, though, it just makes complaining about GPS phones really, really silly, because they can find you without the GPS crap any time your phone is turned on and talking to cell sites, except in the middle of bumfuck where your phone is not guaranteed to work anyway.

  • by alchemist68 (550641) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @06:20PM (#15208295)
    Assuming Apple gains significant market share in corporate America (and the world), the following scenarios are possible:

    1. Your boss can actually watch you pick your nose and possibly see what you do with the booger. Options include wiping it on something, flicking it somewhere in your office/cubicle, eating it.

    2. Your boss can view your facial expression to determine if you enjoy your job, enjoy your current task, day dreaming, sleeping on the job, or in general wasting time.

    3. Your boss can see what you're eating/drinking while at work.

    4. Your boss can see your facial expressions and behavior while looking at members of the same/opposite gender.

    5. Your boss can see with whom you socialize and network while in front of your computer.

    6. With regard to unauthorized employee monitoring, this technology could possibly be defeated with a semi-transparent mirror.

    Fellow Slashdotters, please reply with ideas that I've missed/omitted!
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @06:20PM (#15208300)
    I'm not kidding here. After all, if I'd told you ten years ago that by 2005, all cell phones would have a mandatory GPS tracker broadcasting your location to the phone company as you move about, with a nominal abilty to be switched off (ha), would you have believed me?
    Don't you realize that every cellphone since the beginning of time has had a tracking ability? It has to, by design -- otherwise, the system won't know which tower to route the call to. The only difference with the new ones is that triangulation via GPS is more accurate than triangulation via cellphone towers.
  • "It was a lesson well learned to treat women not as objects but as intelligent people."

    great, so NOW we have to assume all women are intelligent? No. Bear in mind I don't assume all men are intelligent either.

    As someone who has had the privilidge to be around women, they treat men like objects to.

    Guess what? the human mind is designed that way.
  • This practice continues to this day at Apple, putting in hardwired signal LEDs to indicate when a camera is active.
    Jokes on you.

    Seen the latest iMac?

    Camera.

    Microphone.

    No LED.

    Mod that down, there is an LED included on all Apple iSight cameras. Check out Using your built-in iSight camera on a iMac G5 (iSight), iMac (Early 2006), or MacBook Pro [apple.com].

    See the lines:

    The green LED next to your built-in iSight camera will light, indicating that it's capturing video.
    and
    Turning off your built-in iSight camera

    To turn off the built-in iSight camera, just close the active iChat window. The green LED next to the camera will go dark, indicating that the built-in iSight camera is off and no longer capturing video.

    ?

    Just cause there's not a big LED sticking out from the bezel doesn't mean it's not there, and is glowing through when the camera is active. This is Apple after all, a manufacturer that makes sure all of their "throbbing" LEDs are synchronized on both Mac & monitor, and that their iMac's "sleeping" throbber is appropriately dimmed at night [tinyurl.com]. They're not going to ruin their clean lines with an LED sticking out, they'll just make sure it shows up when needed.

    Guess the joke is really on you, and whomever modded your misinformation as "informative".

  • by kahanamoku (470295) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @10:17PM (#15209489)
    This is different from a webcam because now we can FINALLY stop talking to the top/bottom/side of someone's head (depending on where the camera is placed in relation to the screen). We can actually LOOK into the eyes of someone who is webcamming with us! and IMHO its about time!!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @12:00AM (#15209914)
    I seriously consider it one of the failures of modern civilization that it is so difficult to find places to covertly have sex outdoors.

    Go backpacking in hawaii. I recommend Halape Beach and Waimanu Valley. Bring a girlfriend. Plenty of room for outdoor semi-tropical sex, and its fabulous.

    (Posting Anon in case I ever run for president.)
  • I edited it down, but yes, a VCR.

    It happened to her 10 years ago, in Toronto, at a PR firm. Her PC speakers were on the fritz for a few months, she asked a coworker to check her speaker cables for her as she was wearing a skirt that day. He found the speaker cables had indeed come unplugged, and there was a camera mounted below her desk staring directly up her skirt. The camera cable, along with a mass of others, snaked along the wall, with that particular one disappearing into a filing cabinet which was discovered to have a VCR in the bottom of it.

    Much ruckus was made, everyone was appalled, and word quickly spread throughout the building. The police were called, they dusted for finger prints, and almost every man in the office volunteered theirs for comparison. The one who didn't, and everyone's immediate suspect, was creepy overly-friendly IT guy who no woman was comfortable with and was well known to be unhealthily interested in my relative, and he declined to offer his fingerprints. Everyone else was cleared, IT guy quit, she had her desk replaced with a table she could easily see under.

    I only know the story as it came up over a Pad Thai dinner in Toronto's gay neighborhood, where she was asking my lover and I about friends of ours who are in the porn industry. Two had stopped by our table, and afterwards their professions had come up, and after that topic had run it's course she noted how she had once been covertly filmed and how the experience deeply disturbed her. There aren't a lot more details in respect of her privacy, and it was only a minute or two discussion anyway, we'd soon moved on to the topic of good dessert places nearby.

    My point is that all of the "I'd use a camera to sneakily check out chicks" crap is skeevy. It's not just that they're puerile and juvenile, it's a pervasive attitude on many tech sites, and Slashdot in general, that those sorts of comments are acceptable. They're not; they're not funny, they're not even clever, they're only profoundly disturbing in how they view women, and yes, this sort of tacitly approved attitude does drive women away.

    There are lots of healthy adult men who are on Slashdot. There is also a huge adolescent, either chronologically or emotionally, crowd, and they're modding up disturbing things as "funny". So spying on female "friends" and coworkers is entertaining, titillating, acceptable? Are these fellas so stunted that they have no real female "friends" and family that they would be outraged if this happened to, have they no empathy of what a traumatizing violation this would be?

    "I'd buy him a beer", "what a boring single view", "its another way of showing affection" etc. - I just read those and wonder what sort of dysfunctional freaks these are. These aren't people I ever want to associate with; professionally, intellectually, absolutely not socially. They're contemptible, and apparently not even aware of that. And everyone who ignores, or even mods that sort of stuff up, is participating in the hostile atmosphere.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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