Apple updates their Ring Accessory invention that is designed to control content on Future VR/AR Eyewear
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a continuation patent from Apple that builds on their already granted patent relating to a ring accessory specifically designed to work with a future VR glasses and/or Head Mounted Display Device that is more accurate than wearing full VR gloves. The user will be able to wear one or several rings to control content on screen depending on the application. The continuation patent being filed in the same month that the invention was granted by the U.S. Patent Office demonstrates how this is a very active project at Apple.
Today's patent is not a new invention application but rather a continuation patent wherein Apple is updating and/or adding specific technology, features and/or methods that they want to legally extend into their current granted patent. Any change and/or addition to this invention is restricted to Apple's patent claims.
Apple's patent claims presented in their March 2020 granted patent focused on all-things related to "a ring device." In today's continuation patent Apple's claims focus on all-things related the "ring's system" where the ring works with a Head Mounted Display device. Some of the new claims cover the following:
Claim 1: A system configured to be interacted with by a user, the system comprising: a wearable electronic device configured to be worn by the user and having a visual marker and a first sensor that gathers input from the user; and a head-mounted device comprising a display viewable by the user and a second sensor that is configured to detect the visual marker to track the wearable electronic device.
Claim 3: … wherein the head-mounted device further comprises control circuitry and wherein the control circuitry is configured to use the second sensor to track the wearable electronic device.
Claim 4: … wherein the second sensor is a camera and wherein the control circuitry is configured to use the camera to detect the visual marker and track the wearable electronic device.
Claim 5: … wherein the visual marker is a marker selected from the group consisting of: a retroreflector, a fiducial, and a light source.
Claim 10: The system defined in claim 1 wherein the head-mounted device displays virtual content overlaid on real-world objects [=AR], the head mounted device further comprising: control circuitry that is configured to modify the virtual content based on the input gathered by the first sensor in the wearable electronic device.
Claim 12: A ring device that is configured to be worn by a user and to communicate with a head-mounted device, the ring device comprising: a housing having an expandable housing portion; at least one sensor configured to detect input from the user; and wireless communications circuitry that is configured to send the input to the head-mounted device.
Claim 13: The ring device defined in claim 12 wherein the at least one sensor is a sensor selected from the group consisting of: an ultrasonic sensor, an optical sensor, an inertial measurement unit, a strain gauge, and a radio-frequency sensor.
Claim 17: A system comprising: a ring device worn on a user's finger, the ring device comprising: a housing, a sensor mounted in the housing, wherein the sensor is configured to generate data in response to movements of the user's finger, and first communications circuitry configured to send the generated data to external devices; and a head-mounted device comprising: a display configured to generate images, second communications circuitry configured to receive the generated data from the ring device, and control circuitry configured to adjust the displayed images based on the received data.
As a refresher, Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative system with a ring device; FIG. 2 is a top view of an illustrative finger of a user on which a ring device has been placed; FIG. 4 is a side view of an illustrative expandable ring device on a finger.
Apple's continuation patent 20200150715 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was originally filed back in Q1 2020. Considering that this is a continuation patent, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Patently Apple covered the original patent application for this invention back in October 2019. You could check out our report for more patent figures here. Apple was granted a patent for this invention in March 2020.