A newly granted Apple patent (US 11880111 B1) shows that follow-ups to the Vision Pro — whether a Vision Pro 2 or an AR/VR device in traditional eyeglasses form — may not require prescription lenses.
Description of the patent
The patent relates generally to optical systems, and, more particularly, to devices with tunable lenses. Eyewear may include optical systems such as lenses. For example, eyewear such as a pair of glasses may include lenses that allow users to view the surrounding environment.
Apple says it can be challenging to design devices such as these. The tech giant says if care isn’t taken, the optical systems in these devices may not be able to accommodate different eye prescriptions and may not perform satisfactorily.
Apple’s idea is for eyeglasses that may be worn by a user and may include one or more adjustable lenses each aligned with a respective one of a user’s eyes. For example, a first adjustable lens may align with the user’s left eye and a second adjustable lens may align with the user’s right eye.
Each of the first and second adjustable lenses may include one or more liquid crystal cells or other voltage-modulated optical material. Each liquid crystal cell may include a layer of liquid crystal material interposed between transparent substrates.
Control circuitry may apply control signals to an array of electrodes in the liquid crystal cell to adjust a phase profile of the liquid crystal material. In other words, the “Apple Vision Pro 2.0” or “Apple Glasses” would sport lenses that match a different prescription for each eye, and also allow switching the same device between multiple users with different prescriptions.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s (rather technical) abstract of the patent: “A pair of eyeglasses may include one or more adjustable lenses that are each configured to align with a respective one of a user’s eyes. The adjustable lenses may each include electrically modulated optical material such as one or more liquid crystal cells, each having a phase profile that is adjusted using patterned electrodes.
“Analog voltages may be provided to the patterned electrodes through variable-resistance conductive paths that are each coupled to a subset of the patterned electrodes. Digital voltage selection circuitry may be used to select which analog voltage to apply to each of the variable-resistance conductive paths from a predetermined set of analog voltages that are generated off of the lens. The digital voltage selection circuitry may include an array of multiplexers, each of which selects a desired voltage based on control signals received from digital control circuitry such a shift register and/or a decoder.”