Apple GlassesPatents

Apple patent filing involves eye-mounted displays, eye-tracking systems

This mock-up of Apple Glasses is courtesy of Digital Bodies.

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20220328021) for “eye-mounted displays and eye tracking systems with toroidal battery.” It involves the rumored Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/mixed reality head-mounted display (HMD).

About the patent filing

In the patent filing, Apple notes that our technological society increasingly relies on visual display technology for work, home internet and email use, and entertainment applications: HDTV, video games, portable electronic devices, etc. The tech giant says there’s a need for improvements in display technologies with respect to spatial resolution, quality, field of view, portability (both size and power consumption), cost, etc.

Apple says the current crop of display technologies makes a number of tradeoffs between these goals in order to satisfy a particular market segment. For example, direct view color CRTs don’t allow direct addressing of individual pixels. Instead, a Gaussian spread out over several phosphor dots (pixels) both vertically and horizontally (depending on spot size) results. 

Direct view LCD panels have generally replaced CRTs in most computer display and large segments of the TV display markets, but at the trade-offs of higher cost, temporal lag in sequences of images, lower color quality, lower contrast, and limitations on viewing angles. 

Display devices with resolutions higher than the 1920×1024 HDTV standards are now available, but at substantially higher cost. The same is true for displays with higher dynamic range or high frame rates. Projection display devices can now produce large, bright images, but at substantial costs in lamps and power consumption. Displays for cell phones, PDAs, handheld games, small still and video cameras, etc., must currently seriously compromise resolution and field of view. 

Within the specialized market where head mounted displays are used, there are still serious limitations in resolution, field of view, undo warping distortion of images, weight, portability, and cost. Apple wants to overcome such limitations with its Apple Glasses.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A display device is mounted on and/or inside the eye. The eye mounted display contains multiple sub-displays, each of which projects light to different retinal positions within a portion of the retina corresponding to the sub-display. The projected light propagates through the pupil but does not fill the entire pupil. In this way, multiple sub-displays can project their light onto the relevant portion of the retina. 

“Moving from the pupil to the cornea, the projection of the pupil onto the cornea will be referred to as the corneal aperture. The projected light propagates through less than the full corneal aperture. The sub-displays use spatial multiplexing at the corneal surface. Various electronic devices interface to the eye mounted display.”

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.”

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.