Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,402,640) for a “display adjustment for a head-mountable device.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/mixed reality head-mounted display (HMD).
About the patent
A HMD an be worn by a user to display visual information within the field of view of the user. The head-mountable device can be used as a virtual reality (VR) system, an augmented reality (AR) system, and/or a mixed reality (MR) system. A user may observe outputs provided by the head-mountable device, such as visual information provided on a display.
Head-mountable devices, such as head-mountable displays, headsets, visors, smartglasses, head-up display, etc., can perform a range of functions that are managed by the components (e.g., sensors, circuitry, and other hardware) included with the wearable device. The head-mountable device can provide a user experience that is immersive or otherwise natural so the user can easily focus on enjoying the experience without being distracted by the mechanisms of the head-mountable device.
Components of a HMD can include one or more optical modules that provide images and/or views (e.g., to an external environment). Such optical modules can include a display element and/or optical elements that enhance a user’s view. The display element can be oriented in a direction that optimally provides a view along an optical pathway between the display element and the eye of the user.
Apple says that, to accommodate different users and provide various visual effects, it’s desirable to provide dynamic or adaptive focus by moving the display element towards and/or away from the user’s eye. The effects of such movement include an alteration of where the user’s eye focuses. What’s more, Apple wants its HMD to provide such movement with simple actuation mechanisms that don’t burden the system with significantly greater weight, space occupation, and/or power consumption.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A head-mountable device can include an optical module that provides a display element that is moveable based on pressure and/or temperature changes within an enclosed chamber. The control mechanisms can directly and/or indirectly alter one or more of the temperature, pressures, and/or volume of the enclosed chamber.
“As the conditions within the chamber are altered, an extendable member can expand and/or retract to move the display element towards and/or away from a user’s eye. The mechanisms for controlling the position of the display element can be actively and/or passively controlled.”
About Apple Glasses
When it comes to Apple Glasses, the rumors are abundant. Such a device will arrive in mid-to-late 2023. Or maybe 2024. 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.”