Apple wants to resolve potential light/color composition on the rumored ‘Apple Glasses’

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210157143) for “modifying display operating parameters baed on light superposition from a physical environment” that involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display.

In augmented reality (AR), computer-generated content is composited with a user’s physical environment in order to co-mingle computer generated visual content with real-world objects. A user may experience AR content by wearing a head-mountable device (HMD) that includes a translucent or transparent display, which, in turn, allows the pass-through of light from the user’s physical environment to the user’s eyes. The HMD operates as an additive display by adding computer-generated content to the light from the user’s physical environment. 

However, Apple says that, in some circumstances, light from the physical environment has a color composition and/or brightness that interferes with computer-generated content in a manner that degrades the AR experience. For example, light from the physical environment limits a level of contrast between the physical environment and displayed computer-generated content. 

As another example, color composition of the physical environment, such as the presence of predominantly one color, may interfere with the color composition of displayed computer-generated content by providing dominant hues that are difficult to mask using additive display methods and hardware. 

Apple says that some previously available systems include a physical fixed dimming layer that is integrated with a translucent display and the physical environment. Similar to sunglasses, the physical fixed dimming layer functions to block a certain amount light from passing through to the display. 

However, Apple says that the display displays a constantly darker version of the user’s physical environment that degrades the user’s experience and preventing use of such systems in low light situations. The company doesn’t want this to happen with its HMD.

Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “A method includes sensing a plurality of light superposition characteristic values associated with ambient light from a physical environment. The ambient light emanates from the physical environment towards one side of a translucent display. The plurality of light superposition characteristic values quantifies interactions with the ambient light. The method includes determining a plurality of display correction values associated with the electronic device based on a function of the plurality of light superposition characteristic values and predetermined display characteristics of a computer-generated reality (CGR) object. The method includes changing one or more display operating parameters associated with the electronic device in accordance with the plurality of display correction values in order to satisfy the predetermined display characteristics of the CGR object within a performance threshold.”

When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive this year or 2022, depending on which rumor you believe. The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks Apple will at least preview it before the end of the year. 

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.