Apple files three patents for the rumored ‘Apple Glasses’

Apple has filed for three patents for the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality head-mounted display (HMD).

Patent filing number 20200410642 is for a “method and device for combining real and virtual images.” In an augmented reality (AR) experience, virtual objects are presented in a representation of a scene in which the user is present. In a mixed reality experience, a virtual scene is presented including images of real objects in the scene in which the user is present. 

Accordingly, real image data and virtual image data are combined upon a display. Combining the real image data and the virtual image data, particularly at high frame rates, presents computational and other challenges.  Apple wants its Apple Glasses to meet that challenge.

Patent filing number 20200410713 is for “generating pose information for a persona in a physical environment.” Some devices are capable of presenting computer-generated reality (CGR) experiences, and the Apple Glasses will almost certainly do the same.

Some CGR experiences require knowing a body pose of the user. For example, some CGR experiences present an avatar of the user that mimics the behavior of the user. If the user moves a portion of his/her body, the avatar moves the corresponding portion. In such CGR experiences, presenting accurate avatars requires knowing a body pose of the user. 

In some CGR experiences, the CGR experience is altered based on the body pose of the user. For example, as the user moves, a perspective of a CGR environment being presented changes. In such CGR experiences, providing a realistic CGR experience requires knowing a body pose of the user. Apple is looking to do this with the Apple Glasses by including an environmental sensor, a non-transitory memory and one or more processors coupled with the environmental sensor and the non-transitory memory. 

Patent number 20200490147 is for an “adjustable electronic device system with facial mapping” via which Apple’s HMD would sport a three-dimensional image sensor. The three-dimensional image sensor may capture a three-dimensional image of a user’s face. 

Control circuitry would analyze the three-dimensional image to identify which of multiple versions of a customizing face-fit module should be used in the electronic device to fit the device to the user’s face. An appropriate face-fit module may be identified based on facial features such as facial size and the shapes of a user’s forehead, nose, and cheeks. 

After identifying which version of the face-fit module is to be used by the user, that version of the face-fit module may be coupled to a non-custom portion of a main unit for the head-mounted device using magnets or other coupling structures. In other words, Apple wants to make the Apple Glasses as comfortable as possible.

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.”

The accompanying Apple Glasses mock-ups are courtesy of Mac O’Clock, Entertainment Box, iPhoneWired, and Inaugment.

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.