Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,756,788) for a “relay dock and base station with position information based directional wave forming.” It involves a dock/base station that would work with the rumored “Apple Glasses,” a head-mounted augmented reality system.
In the patent data, Apple notes that in virtual reality or augmented reality applications, a user device may wirelessly communicate significant amounts of data with a base station using a millimeter wave. However, as someone wearing Apple Glasses moves within a space, such as a room, objects may block a current link path between the user device and the base station.
In such situations, the user device or base station may perform a scan or sweep to identify a new link path (if available) or may lose communications between the user device and base station. However, even if a new link path is available, communication between the user device and the base station may stop while a scan or sweep is being performed to identify the new link path.
Apple says this may cause a virtual reality or augmented reality scene being displayed on the user device to freeze, or otherwise become non-responsive. Such interruptions may produce a negative user experience. Also, in other applications, such as streaming video or audio, such interruptions may cause a negative user experience. Apple’s idea is to use a base station to extend the range of communications to not just one Apple Glasses users, but to several who are in teh same room.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “A wireless communication system comprises a base station and one or more relay docks and transmits directional wave signals between components using high frequency waves, such as millimeter waves. A beam forming decision engine utilizes position information collected from one or more position or motion sensors of a user device to determine a direction in which to form a directional wave signal being transmitted between components of the wireless communication system.”
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive next year or 2022, 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 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.”