A couple of new Head-Mounted Device Patents were published today covering Thermals and an Optical System
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published two patent applications from Apple that relate to a future Head-Mounted Device that will display VR/ AR and Mixed Reality content. The first patent relates to structures and methods of cooling high-resolution display panels (e.g., OLED or uOLED panels) found in a visual headset. The second patent relates to an HMD display system that provides localized optical adjustments.
Structural Thermal Solutions for Display Devices
In this first of two HMD patent filings from Apple, they first describe what problem(s) their invention is to solve. Apple begins by noting that certain display panels, such as OLED and uOLED panels, for example, can operate at high temperatures. In known systems, such as wearable HMDs, for example, display panels are usually supported by a carrier, bezel, or other such structure, which is often formed from a lightweight material (e.g., plastic) to reduce the overall weight of the systems.
These structures, however, offer little benefit in terms of thermal regulation. Without proper cooling and heat dissipation, the panels (which are expensive and difficult to replace) can degrade over time, often resulting in irreparable damage or system failure. To manage and offset the heat generated by the panels during use, and thereby increase their usable life, display systems will often incorporate additional components, such as heat sinks. These additional components, however, create design challenges and add to the overall weight of the systems.
Apple's invention addresses these challenges by providing a display system that integrates thermal solutions into structural components. This combined functionality not only reduces the overall number of components, complexity, and weight of the display system, but increases thermal conductivity and improves thermal management to decrease operating temperatures and extend the system's usable life.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a top, perspective view of a display system configured as a wearable HMD in accordance with the principles of this invention.
You could review the details of patent application 20200393881 here.
Display System with Localized Optical Adjustments
Apple's second Head-Mounted Display system patent is titled "Display System with Localized Optical Adjustments."
Once again Apple begins their patent filing with what the invention is to solve. Apple notes that Electronic devices sometimes include adjustable optical components. For example, wearable electronic devices such as head-mounted devices may include displays for displaying computer-generated content that is overlaid on real-world content. It may be desirable to place an adjustable optical component in line with a user's field of view. The adjustable optical component may be used, for example to adjust real-world object brightness as a user is viewing computer-generated content that is overlaid on top of real-world objects.
Challenges can arise when incorporating adjustable optical components into electronic devices. For example, adjustable optical components for head-mounted devices may be overly bulky or heavy. Some adjustable optical components have the potential to exhibit diffraction effects or other undesired effects that create visible artifacts.
Apple's invention generally relates to a Head-Mounted Devices with a spatially addressable adjustable optical component. The adjustable optical component may be configured to form a spatially addressable light modulator or adjustable lens.
The adjustable optical component may have first and second electrodes and an electrically adjustable material between the first and second electrodes. The electrically adjustable material may include a transparent conductive material such as indium tin oxide that includes a pattern of segmented trenches.
The trenches may be configured to provide the transparent conductive material with electrical anisotropy, so that the sheet resistance of the transparent conductive material is different in different directions. This allows control circuitry to spatially control the voltage across the adjustable optical component.
Adjustable light modulators may be used to selectively darken parts of a user's field of view. If, as an example, a head-mounted display system is being used to display computer-generated content that overlaps real-world objects, the brightness of the real-world objects can be selectively decreased to enhance the visibility of the computer-generated content. In particular, a spatially addressable adjustable light modulator may be used to generate a dark region that overlaps a bright real-world object that is overlapped by computer-generated content in the upper right corner of a user's field of view (as an example).
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative electronic device such as a head-mounted display device in accordance with of the present disclosure.
Apple's patent FIGS. 5-7 above present top views of illustrative electrode layers in a spatially addressable adjustable optical component.
For greater details, review Apple's patent application 20200393718 Filed back in April 2020.
Considering that the two inventions above are patent applications, the timing of such devices to market is unknown at this time.