Apple has filed a patent for 'Transparent Texting' that resembles existing applications such as Tape n Walk and Walk N Text.

  • It shows as filed on September 6th, 2012. Does the Prior Art need to be before the filing date, or the publication date?
    – Ehryk
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 7:18

7 Answers 7


There's also a ton of similar apps in the Windows Phone app store, which is still seen as the most backwards of app stores by most people. The oldest "last updated" date I was quickly able to find seems to be Transparant Message from the 21th of Januari 2012, more than seven months prior the date mentioned in the question.


This seems like it might be relevant, though it seems to cover regular cameras, not necessarily video cameras. Maybe that's an "obvious" leap.

According to one aspect, a device may include a lens assembly and a display to present a first image that is being received via the lens assembly. In addition, the device may include a processor to receive a second image via the lens assembly, transform the second image, superimpose the transformed second image on the first image that is being presented on the display, provide the superimposed images on the display, and capture the first image. ... Additionally, the device may include a camera phone or a camera. According to another aspect, a method may include receiving a background image, capturing the background image, receiving a subject image, modifying the background image, superimposing the modified background image on the subject image to obtain a composite image, displaying the composite image, and capturing the subject image.

This might also be relevant:

  1. A mobile device comprising: an imager configured to provide a depth image including a foreground and an original background; a sensor configured to sense movement of the mobile device; and a processor configured to separate the foreground from the original background, to replace the original background with a substitute background to form a substitute image, and to change the substitute background based on the sensed movement of the mobile device.

And this

  1. A method for video background replacement in real time, comprising: obtaining a video; transmitting the obtained video; receiving the transmitted video; and rendering the transmitted video with a replaced background on a monitor, wherein the method further comprises obtaining an advertising content and one of: (a) segmenting a background from the video and replacing the segmented background with the advertising content after obtaining the video and prior to transmitting the obtained video; (b) segmenting a background from the video prior to transmitting the obtained video and replacing the segmented background with the advertising content after receiving the transmitted video; or (c) segmenting a background from the video and replacing the segmented background with the advertising content after receiving the transmitted video.

Seems like all of these are close, but probably not the whole cigar. It really comes down to whether replacing part of a background video with a foreground image is the same as putting text on top of the background video.


Or CamText in the Cydia store for $1.50.




This patent is not novel because of this software from 2003


  • Don't see how this app allows you to chat/send text messages from a mobile device while showing live video image from the camera as the background of the editing UI. Camfrog seems to be "just" software for making webcam connections also using chat. Am I right?
    – peSHIr
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:23

There's an app called Text Vision that has been approved on the iOS App Store since early 2010.


I don't think they've got a very strong case, here. Heck, my company released an app in May, 2009 that does basically this: Email 'n Walk

  • The answer will be more useful if it contains line item comparisons, showing how your app is prior art for the claims in the patent application. Verifiable proof of date is of course very important, it could be a review in a magazine, or web news press release (with Archive.org visibility), etc. It is unlikely that patent examiners will click the link you have provided to find prior art - unless it is clearly shown here that it IS indeed prior art.
    – Ron J.
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 19:42

This appears very similar in concept to a display in a windowless craft, superimposing various instrumentation over top of a video of the outside.

It is also similar to a heads-up display (HUD) whereby instrumentation is optically superimposed onto a real view, via partial reflection. The reflected instrumentation itself may be produced by an electronic display, but not necessarily so; it could be mechanical instrumentation that glows via fluorescence, or through some form of lighting.

The basic concept here is to merge two views together so that a human operator can efficiently divide his or her attention between two information streams without head or eye movement, resulting in increased safety.

The idea for applying this to texting and walking may be neat, but it is not an invention; it is an application of an existing idea.

If heads-up displays constitute prior art for text-and-walk applications, then it is decades old prior art.

Indeed, I call to your attention US1871877 from 1929: "Apparatus for correlating spaced points of observation".


"... This invention relates to an apparatus for correlating spaced and separate points of observation utilized in the control of a moving object, to the end that such control may be made more eflicient with a diminution in fatigue in the eye of the observer. "


"... Accordingly, the present invention provides means for projecting the index or symbol appearing in the secondary control field into the normal control field where it may be readily observed at all times."

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