Unless Apple CEO Tim Cook is throwing us a Keyser Söze-style curveball, Apple’s next major splash will be in augmented reality.
Earlier this month tech’s most powerful man said AR has the potential to be “profound,” while reiterating that Apple is moving very quickly towards its goals in the sector.
Fast forward a week, and we’ve got ourselves another indication of exactly how Apple plans to augment our realities.
A new patent filing details a new pair of smart glasses that offer a lighter, more comfortable head-mounted display than options currently on the market. The filing titled “Optical System for Head-mounted Display“, was published at the USPTO on Friday.
It starts by setting out the idea that “if care is not taken, a head-mounted display may be cumbersome and tiring to wear.”
Apple says current generation devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are “bulky and heavy” and that “extended use of a head-mounted display with this type of optical system may be uncomfortable.
“It would there for be desirable to provide improved head-mounted [displays],” the firm asserts.
Is this the solution?
Word. We can all get on board with that. So what is Apple planning to do to facilitate this more comfortable experience?
It starts with what’s known as a “catadioptric optical system”, which is the tech you see in some telescopes and telephoto lenses.
Effectively, as SlashGear points out in its report, it uses stacks of curved mirrors and lenses in convex and concave shapes. Like the one you see below.
This would enable lenses to be shorter and more compact, which could help reduce the footprint on your forehead.
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The patent says Apple is working on an even smaller solution than used in current products, combined with internal and external cameras that could assess the real world environment around the user, while also tracking eye movement.
Given Apple has repeatedly bemoaned the unreadiness of current technology to meets its ambitions in the space, this patent could hold the key to clearing the roadblock.
However, as always with a parent application, we caution this may never come to fruition. It’s likely one of many ideas currently being toyed with at Infinite Loop.
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