The USPTO was not impressed. In March, an examiner noted that a re-drawn diagram of Waymo’s lidar firing circuit showed current passing along a wire between the circuit and the ground in two directions—something generally deemed impossible. “Patent owner’s expert testimony is not convincing to show that the path even goes to ground in view of the magic ground wire, which shows current moving in two directions along a single wire,” noted the examiners dryly.
Source: Vigilante engineer stops Waymo from patenting key lidar technology | Ars Technica
Self-driving startups should not take this legal confusion as carte blanche to use the lidar technology described in Waymo’s and Velodyne’s patents, warns Brian Love, co-director of the High Tech Law Institute at the Santa Clara University School of Law. “There’s a joke among patent lawyers that a final rejection is anything but final, because owners still have options even after a final rejection,” he tells Ars. “And to get an award in a patent action, you only have to show infringement of one claim in one patent. The fact that there’s even one claim left in Waymo’s patent means there’s one shot for arguing that someone infringes that claim.”
In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.
Source: Guatemala’s Maya Society Featured Huge ‘Megalopolis,’ LiDAR Data Show
In the team’s setup, low-intensity pulses of visible laser light scan an object of interest. The laser fires a pulse at a given location until a single reflected photon is recorded by a detector; each illuminated location corresponds to a pixel in the final image.
Variations in the time it takes for photons from the laser pulses to be reflected back from the object provides depth information about the body — a standard way of revealing three-dimensional structure. However, the algorithm developed by Kirmani and his colleagues provides that information using one-hundredth the number of photons required by existing light detection and ranging (LIDAR) techniques, which are commonly used in remote mapping or measuring forest biomass, for instance.
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