Apple has applied for another patent (number 20190324274) — one of a dozen or so — that hints at features for the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display expected to debut next year.
The patent filing is dubbed “head-mounted device with an adjustable opacity system.” A head-mounted display displaying augmented reality content may overlay computer-generated images on real-world objects. Apple says that, if care isn’t taken, the computer-generated images may be difficult to see against the real-world objects, real-world objects may distract a viewer, or other issues may arise with displayed content. The tech giant wants to avoid this with its device.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A head-mounted device may have a transparent display. The transparent display may be formed from a display unit that provides images to a user through an optical coupler. A user may view real-world objects through the optical coupler while control circuitry directs the transparent display to display computer-generated content over selected portions of the real-world objects. The head-mounted display may also include an adjustable opacity system.
“The adjustable opacity system may include an adjustable opacity layer such as a photochromic layer that overlaps the optical coupler and a light source that selectively exposes the adjustable opacity layer to ultraviolet light to control the opacity of the adjustable opacity layer. The adjustable opacity layer may block or dim light from the real-world objects to allow improved contrast when displaying computer-generated content over the real-world objects.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.