Apple patent filing involves optical systems for ‘Apple Glasses’

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20220066204) for “optical systems with light-expanding couplers.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality headset.

About the patent filing

In the patent filing, Apple notes that electronic devices may include displays that present images close to a user’s eyes. For example, devices such as virtual reality and augmented reality headsets may include displays with optical elements that allow users to view the displays. 

However, it can be challenging to design devices such as these. Apple says that, if care isn’t taken, the components used in displaying content may be unsightly and bulky and may not exhibit desired levels of optical performance. The tech giant, as you might expect, wants its AR/VR device to work well AND look great.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing with some tech details: “An electronic device may include a display that generates light for an optical system that redirects the light towards an eye box. The optical system may include a waveguide, a non-diffractive input coupler, a cross coupler, and an output coupler. The cross coupler may expand the light in a first direction. 

“The cross coupler may perform an even number of diffractions on the light and may couple the light back into the waveguide at an angle suitable for total internal reflection. The output coupler may expand the light in a second direction while coupling the light out of the waveguide. The cross coupler may include surface relief gratings or holographic gratings embedded within the waveguide or formed in a separate substrate. The optical system may direct the light towards the eye box without chromatic dispersion and while supporting an expanded field of view and optical bandwidth.”

About Apple Glasses

When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive in late 2022 or 2023, depending on which rumor you believe. It will be a head-mounted display. Or may have a design like “normal” glasses. Or it may be eventually be available in both. The Apple Glasses may or may not have to be tethered to an iPhone to work. Other rumors say that Apple Glasses could have a custom-build Apple chip and a dedicated operating system dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.