Apple researching precision sensors for ‘Apple Glass’ to enhance immersion, control HomeKit

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A future Apple mixed-reality headset, just like the rumored “Apple Glass,” might leverage precision sensors to supply a extremely immersive expertise and permit customers to manage close by digital gadgets.

Two patents, granted to Apple on Tuesday cowl totally different elements of a virtual- or mixed-reality headset or goggles. Along with Apple’s current work on platforms like ARKit, Apple is considered engaged on a minimum of one head-mounted machine of some kind that would present MR or VR experiences.

The suite of sensors on a potential head-mounted device. Credit: Apple

The suite of sensors on a possible head-mounted machine. Credit score: Apple

As Apple factors out within the patent, the “goal of immersion in a digital world is to persuade a consumer’s thoughts to understand a non-physical world as if it have been actual. The idea of actuality right here refers extra to the notion of perceptual plausibility slightly than representing an actual world.”

To offer that degree of immersion, the patent contends that monitoring of assorted parts is essential That features monitoring of the top’s place, the physique’s place, and the setting round a consumer.

The suite of immersion-providing sensors might embody a pair of RGB cameras with infrared cut-off filters; one other pair of mono digital camera sensors with close to infrared filters; an inertial measurement unit; a time-of-flight sensor; a speckle sample projector; and different related parts.

Based on this patent, these parts would work collectively in several methods. The cameras, for instance, might present a pass-through view for MR, however might additionally present picture knowledge that might be processed to research and perceive the setting.

Environmental evaluation is important for sensible object placement in augmented actuality or MR, however the patent additionally lays out ways in which a head-mounted machine might perceive a consumer higher as effectively. That features real-time monitoring of a consumer’s physique, head, and their place in an setting.

All of this knowledge assortment and evaluation takes processing energy, and over a connection, might result in excessive latency. For immersion functions, the patent notes that some processing may very well be performed on the head-mounted machine itself for low-latency, with an exterior computing machine offering further energy when wanted.

Simon Fortin-Desch nes; Vincent Chapdelaine-Couture; Yan Cote; and Anthony Ghannoum are listed because the patent’s inventors. Fortin-Desch nes and Chapdelaine-Couture have each labored on a few imaging-related patents for the Cupertino tech large up to now.

In a separate patent, Apple describes a system that would permit an identical head-mounted machine to manage close by electronics and computer systems.

A figure depicting in-air gestures that could control various smart or electronic devices. Credit: Apple

A determine depicting in-air gestures that would management varied sensible or digital gadgets. Credit score: Apple

An digital machine, resembling a head-mounted one, might additionally input-output parts that might “present an intuitive means for a consumer to manage, collect details about, or in any other case talk with exterior digital gadgets.”

“The input-output gadgets could embody sensors for figuring out exterior digital gadgets inside the consumer’s setting, a show system for displaying details about the exterior digital gadgets, and consumer enter parts resembling contact sensors, power sensors, and different sensors for gathering contact enter and/or gesture from a consumer’s fingers. The digital machine could embody communications circuitry for sending indicators to and/or receiving indicators from the exterior digital gadgets primarily based on the obtained consumer enter,” the patent reads.

As Apple notes, customers could discover it difficult to “establish and management which gadgets are linked and the way the gadgets are linked. Sometimes, a consumer should navigate to a settings menu on every particular person machine, which then gives a listing of exterior gadgets to which that machine is linked.”

To get mitigate this, Apple contends that gadgets may very well be displayed in a picture or on a separate machine. From right here, customers might view and faucet on particular electronics inside an setting to simply choose them for settings functions.

“A finger swipe from a primary exterior digital machine to a second digital machine on the show or within the setting could trigger the management circuitry to ship wi-fi indicators to a minimum of one of many first and second exterior digital gadgets to determine a wi-fi communications hyperlink between the primary and second exterior digital gadgets,” the patent reads.

The system wouldn’t essentially must be a AR or MR-related patent. For instance, a consumer might maintain up an iPad and use its digital camera view to see and management varied gadgets in a setting. Nonetheless, the patent does specify that the management machine might incorporate a “head-mounted show,” with management gestures being made within the air. In different phrases, it hints at HomeKit performance for “Apple Glass” or one other HMD.

This patent lists Colin M. Ely; Erik G. de Jong; Stephen Brian Lynch; and Fletcher R. Rothkopf. All 4 have labored on varied Apple-related patents up to now, together with ones associated to the Apple Watch in addition to embedded sensors in OLED shows.

Apple information quite a few patents on a weekly foundation, and is granted lots of them. Due to that, there is no indication of when — or if — expertise described inside them will make it to a consumer-facing machine.

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