CableLabs Scores Patent for Augmented Reality Wi-Fi Finder

CableLabs won a U.S. patent for an invention that could help cable subscribers use augmented reality applications on smartphones and tablets to find Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth and Zigbee access points.

Apple engineer Jean-François Mulé, who was an SVP at CableLabs when it filed the application, is named as lead inventor on the patent that was published on Tuesday.

Look for CableLabs members to integrate augmented reality technology in mobile applications such as TWC WiFi Finder and Comcast’s Xfinity WiFi app.

Abstract: Facilitating service coverage identification using augmented reality is contemplated. The service coverage information may relate to wireless signaling metrics collected for wireless access points. A reality view captured with a mobile device to reflect an area proximate the access points may augmented with the service coverage information such that the resulting augmented reality view identifies variances or other parameters of the service coverage information relative to the mobile device.

Patent

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Claims: 

1. A method of representing wireless service coverage information for one or more access points configured to facilitate wireless signaling, the method comprising: determining a reality view relative to one or more of the access points; determining service coverage information for the plurality of access points; visually augmenting the reality view with the service coverage information to generate an augmented reality view; determining the service coverage information to include signal strength information, the signal strength information spatially relating wireless signaling strength of each access point; determining a focus perimeter sufficient for spatially relating the plurality of access points to the reality view, a length of the focus perimeter from a source of the reality view defining an area proximate to the reality view; selecting the signal strength information visually represented within the augmented reality view to correspond with the access points within the area such that more access points, and thereby more signaling strength information, is visually represented when the length is longer than when the length is shorter; and adjusting a viewing angle of the reality view shown in the augmented reality view in proportion to the length of the focus perimeter such that the viewing angle is wider when the length is longer and narrower when the length is shorter, the viewing angle defining a percentage of the reality view shown within the augment reality view such that a greater percentage of the reality view is shown when the length is longer than when the length is shorter.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising visually representing the signaling strength information with color coding of the augmented reality view where different colors are used to represent variances in signaling strength, including varying the colors along a vertical dimension of at least a portion of the augmented reality view as the signal strength correspondingly varies in height.

3. The method of claim 2 further comprising color coding elements depicted within the reality view such that the color coding appears to one of overlay or appear to be within the same plane as the elements.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising: determining the service coverage information to include at least one of uplink/downlink speed, coverage area, Internet connectivity and authentication measures for the plurality of access points; and visually representing at least one of uplink/downlink speed, coverage area, Internet connectivity and authentication measures within the augmented reality view.

5. The method of claim 1 further comprising determining the service coverage information from service coverage messages transmitted from a network administrator associated with the access points, the access points being configured to facilitate at least one of cellular wireless signaling and Wi-Fi wireless signaling and to determine the signal strength information included in the augmented reality view using relative signal strength information (RSSI) measurements generated with mobile devices in communication therewith.

6. The method of claim 1 further comprising: determining the source of the reality view from an image captured with a digital camera of a wireless device positioned within a vicinity of one or more of the access points such that the reality view shown within the augmented reality view is centered at a position of the wireless device; and visually representing service coverage information within the augmented reality view for one or more access points beyond a viewing range of the digital camera.

7. The method of claim 1 further comprising: determining the source of the reality view to be centered at a mobile device; and determining the access points to be within the area if wireless signaling emitted therefrom crosses a perimeter spaced apart from and centered at the mobile, a distance of the perimeter to the mobile device being proportional to the length.

8. A non-transitory computer-readable medium having non-transitory instructions stored thereon which are operable with a processor of a mobile device to facilitate representing wireless service coverage information for one or more access points configured to facilitate wireless signaling, the computer-readable medium having non-transitory instructions for: determining a reality view of an area proximate to the mobile device, the reality view having a horizontal dimension and a vertical dimension; augmenting the reality view with the service coverage information to generate an augmented view sufficient for visually representing the service coverage information using color coding, the color coding varying horizontally to represent variances in the horizontal dimension and varying vertically to represent variances in the vertical dimension; determining the service coverage information to include at least one of signaling strength, uplink/downlink speed, coverage area, Internet connectivity and authentication measures for the plurality of access points; visually representing at least one of the signaling strength, uplink/downlink speed, coverage area, Internet connectivity and authentication measures within the augmented view using the color coding where different colors are used to represent variances in the at least one of signaling strength, uplink/downlink speed, coverage area, Internet connectivity and authentication measures; determining a focus perimeter for the augmented view according to a user input made to the mobile device, a length of the focus perimeter representing a distance from the mobile device to a perimeter radially centered at the mobile device; filtering the service coverage information visually represented within the augmented view depending on the length of the focus perimeter such that the visually represented service coverage information is limited to the access points having wireless signals reaching the perimeter; determining a viewing angle of the augmented view in proportion to the length of the focus perimeter such that the viewing angle is wider when the length is longer and narrower when the length is shorter; determining the reality view from images captured with an imaging component included as part of the mobile device; determining an amount of the reality view to be shown within the augmented view according to the viewing angle such that a greater amount of the reality view is shown when the viewing angle is wider and a lesser amount of the reality view is shown when the viewing angle is narrower; and adding bars or non-image portions to lateral sides of the reality view shown within the augmented view in the event the reality view is unable to a fill an entire width of a display of the mobile device showing the augmented view.

9. The computer-readable medium of claim 8 further comprising instructions for: determining the reality view from images wirelessly transmitted to the mobile device; generating the augmented view through subsequent augmentation of one or more of the wirelessly transmitted images; and displaying the augmented view within a display included as part of the mobile device.

10. The computer-readable medium of claim 8 further comprising instructions sufficient for: limiting the service coverage information visually represented within the augmented view to a first access point of the access points; visually color coding the augmented view in a first pattern when the length is a first length; and visually color coding the augmented view in a second pattern different than the first pattern when the length is a second length different than the first length, thereby adapting the color coding according to service coverage variations related to the wireless signals reaching the perimeter differently depending on whether the perimeter coincides with the first length or the second length.

11. A non-transitory computer-readable medium having non-transitory instructions sufficient for use with a mobile device to facilitate: determining a reality view proximate to the mobile device, the reality view at least partially including images of a surrounding environment captured with an imaging feature of the mobile device; determining a focus perimeter and a viewing angle as a function of user input to the mobile device or instructions transmitted thereto from a network administrator, the focus perimeter representing a perimeter spatially apart from and radially centered at the mobile device, the viewing angle representing a segment of the perimeter angularly coinciding therewith; determining signaling strength information for one or more wireless access points within a vicinity of the mobile device; augmenting the reality view to generate an augmented view sufficient to visually represent the signaling strength information for each wireless access point having wireless signaling traversing the segment; displaying the augmented view with a display feature of the mobile device; visually representing signaling strength information for access points positioned relative to the mobile device so as to be unavailable for image capture using the imaging feature; and visually representing signaling strength information for a first wireless access point and not a second wireless access point, the first wireless access point sourcing wireless signaling reaching the segment without being operably received at the mobile device and the second wireless access point sourcing wireless signaling operably received at the mobile device without reaching the segment.

12. The non-transitory computer-readable medium of claim 11 further comprising non-transitory instructions for: color coding the signal strength information according to relative signaling strength of the corresponding wireless signaling as the wireless signaling reaches a boundary defined by the segment, including varying the color coding horizontally to represent horizontal variations in signaling strength along the boundary and varying the color coding vertically to represent vertical variations in signaling strength.