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Apple Invents an Optical Alignment System for Future Smartglasses to ensure Optimal AR Viewing

1 COVER  AR Glasses

Report Update: 5:40 a.m. PST: Added graphic + links to 2 additional patents 


Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to head-mountable devices, and, more particularly, to an alignment mechanism for an optical assembly of head-mountable devices, such as eyeglasses.


A head-mountable device can 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. The display can optionally allow a user to observe an environment outside of the head-mountable device. Other outputs provided by the head-mountable device can include audio output and/or haptic feedback. A user may further interact with the head-mountable device by providing inputs for processing by one or more components of the head-mountable device. For example, the user can provide tactile inputs, voice commands, and other inputs while the device is mounted to the user's head.


Apple's invention covers Head-mountable devices, such as smart eyeglasses, head-mountable displays, headsets, visors, head-up display, and the like can perform a range of functions that is determined by the components (e.g., sensors, circuitry, and other hardware) included with the wearable device as manufactured. It can be desirable to provide the components of the head-mountable device in an alignment that provides the desired optical properties, including properly aligned output of visual features from a display element.


Proper operation of display components of a head-mountable device can be based on proper alignment. For example, where a light projection display element is configured to project light onto a waveguide, the relative alignment of the display element and the waveguide are preferably achieved for optimal performance. Misalignment of the components can cause visual features output by the display element to be projected on the waveguide at locations other than the desired locations.


During assembly of a head-mountable device, the display element can be arranged with respect to the waveguide to achieve optimal alignment. Individual components can each have different manufacturing tolerances that yield a range of different alignment possibilities. Given such a range of possible misalignments, it can be desirable to have an ability to align the components relative to each other during and/or after assembly within the head-mountable device.


The alignment mechanisms can be integrated into the head-mountable device itself. A light projecting display element can be adjustable based on movement of ramp members within the head-mountable device (e.g., within an arm) to adjust an orientation of the light projecting display element relative to the waveguide onto which it projects light.


Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a perspective view of a head-mountable device, such as smartglasses; FIG. 4, the display element 80 is coupled to the arm 40 of the head mountable device in a manner that supports the position of the display element 80 and allows for adjustable orientations. 


2  xF optical alignment system


For finer details, review Apple's patent application number 20210026147. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


A second patent covering this technology was published today under number 20210026139. A Third patent on this same system was published under number 20210026146 with a few patent figures from it illustrated below. 


Apple's patent FIG. 3 illustrates another perspective view of the head-mountable device; FIG. 9, the waveguide 54 can be selectively bonded to the corresponding lens (e.g., inner lens 56) at discrete locations that are subject to smaller or no loads.


3 added images from secondary patent for smartglasses optical system


As shown in Apple's patent FIG. 3 above, a torque can be applied to the head-mountable device (#10), for example at one or both of the arms (#40) and about an axis that extends through one or both of the arms. Such a torque can occur when the head-mountable device is removed from a head of the user from one side before the other. A torque applied to one or more of the arms can be transferred to the frame (#20) in a manner that twists the frame relative to one or more of the optical modules (#50) supported by the frame.


10.51FX - Patent Application Bar


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