Apple continues its plans to beef up virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) features on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The company has filed for a patent (number 2022010121344) for “methods for interacting with virtual controls and/or an affordance for moving virtual objects in virtual environments.”
About the patent filing
In the patent filing, Apple notes that the development of computer systems for augmented reality has increased significantly in recent years. Example augmented reality environments include at least some virtual elements that replace or augment the physical world.
Input devices, such as cameras, controllers, joysticks, touch-sensitive surfaces, and touch-screen displays for computer systems and other electronic computing devices are used to interact with VR/AR environments. Example virtual elements include virtual objects include digital images, video, text, icons, and control elements such as buttons and other graphics.
However, methods and interfaces for interacting with environments that include at least some virtual elements (e.g., applications, augmented reality environments, mixed reality environments, and virtual reality environments) are “cumbersome, inefficient, and limited,” Apple says.
How so? “Systems that provide insufficient feedback for performing actions associated with virtual objects, systems that require a series of inputs to achieve a desired outcome in an augmented reality environment, and systems in which manipulation of virtual objects are complex, tedious and error-prone, create a significant cognitive burden on a user, and detract from the experience with the virtual/augmented reality environment,” notes Apple.
In addition, these methods take longer than necessary and waste energy. Apple wants to make interacting with VR/AR environments on its various devices seamless.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: In some embodiments, an electronic device enhances interactions with virtual objects in a three-dimensional environment. In some embodiments, an electronic device enhances interactions with selectable user interface elements. In some embodiments, an electronic device enhances interactions with slider user interface elements. In some embodiments, an electronic device moves virtual objects in a three-dimensional environment and facilitates accessing actions associated with virtual objects.