Apple’s Patent for “Social Camera Flash”

Apple files a patent application that describes a primary iOS device such as an iPhone, which remotely controls multiple other secondary devices such as another iPhone or iPad.

Found within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the patent called the “Illumination System” represents an invention Apple developed through which the Fruit Company proposes that a number of devices like iPhones, iPad and iPods or any other mobile products can act as remotely controlled lights for the main camera.

Apple's Social Camera Flash patent

This invention, which is assumed to connect multiple iOS devices, belongs to multiple different people and the patent application can be considered to be a social camera flash system. This can turn out to be pretty useful when starting a photo shooting and it is required more than one source of lighting.

The application describes a primary device, which can be a dedicated camera or a handset with camera features while the slave units can represent the same product, or any other suitable device with lighting components. In some cases, the remote units can be represented by dedicated flash components built into the primary device’s charger, charging cable or other components.

The system is supposed to work pretty easily. The primary device sets up a master slave connection is the slave unit, which can be one or numerous devices. The main device takes a test image in order to determine the illumination requirements of a scene and then sends a control signal to the secondary device informing the position, intensity and timing. At this time, similar illumination systems are used in professional photography, but they are developed around a wireless connection.

However, Apple’s patent application allows the primary device to give precise instructions to the user regarding the setting of the lighting. The secondary device will receive exact instructions in order to position the slave units remotely.

As the patent describes, Apple offers an example of such illuminated system. “As one example, a display associated with (or incorporated into) a secondary device may display text instructing a person holding that device to move in a particular direction, for a particular distance, to a particular angle or move the device in a certain manner”. The user holding the secondary device will receive direct instructions without interfering with the illuminating system in a direct manner.

For this invention, Apple proposed the use of wireless technology like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi while protecting the premature flashes. Apple’s patent for “Social Camera Flash” was filed in November 2011 and Richard L. Baer was its inventor.


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