Apple's future HMD could place Haptics on a user's cheeks, nose & temples to make games & movies more entertaining
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a Mixed Reality head-mounted display system that includes a display, haptic output devices, and a controller. The haptic devices are designed to be positioned on a user's cheeks, nose, and/or at or along sides of the head or in addition to the temples of the user to provide maximum sensations when playing games or enjoying a movie.
Apple specifically notes that the HMD may include specialty modules such as a movie module and a game module for providing graphical and/or audio content of a game or simulation.
The display unit is configured to be worn on a head of a user and includes a display for providing graphical output to the user. The haptic output devices are coupled to the display unit.
The controller that processes directional inputs, determines directional haptic output according to the directional inputs, and controls the left and right haptic output devices to provide directional haptic output.
The directional inputs may include one or more of navigation instructions, an environmental feature of interest that is an object in an environment in which the head-mounted display is positioned, or a virtual output of interest that is at least one of the graphical output or an aural output of the head-mounted display.
It is also noted that the controller can processes a health input and determines a health haptic output according to the health input, and controls the haptic output devices to provide the health haptic output. The health input may be a breathing instruction or an exercise instruction for instructing the user.
Additionally, haptic output devices are removably coupleable to the display unit and provides haptic output to the user. The haptic output device may be removably coupled to the display unit mechanically and electrically.
The audio output devices (#120) of the head-mounted display (#100) provide audio output. The audio output devices include one or more speakers that may be configured, for example, as in-ear, on-ear, or over-ear headphones. The audio output devices may, for example, be coupled, removably or irremovably, to the head support 150 (as shown in FIG. 1D) or any other suitable location (e.g., the display unit 110).
The sensors (#122) of the head-mounted display monitor conditions of the environment and/or the user. Those sensors that monitor the environment may include, but are not limited to, one or more outward-facing cameras (#122a), one or more depth sensors (#122b), one or more ultrasonic sensors (#122c), one or more position sensors (#122d), one or more audio sensors (#122e). Those sensors that monitor the user may include, but are not limited, one or more inward-facing cameras (#122f) and one or more physiological sensors (#122g).
The one or more depth sensors detect objects in the environment around the head-mounted display and/or distances thereto. The one or more depth sensors may, for example, be a structured light system (e.g., having a projector and a camera) that projects light in a known pattern, senses the light reflected from objects in the environment, and identifies objects and/or distances using suitable algorithms.
In other embodiments, the haptic output devices may be provided in fewer, more, and/or different locations. For example, the haptic output devices may be provided in a subset of the front, left, right, and back locations (e.g., only left and right, only front and back, or without back). In another example, the haptic output devices may, instead or additionally be provided in different locations, such as at or along a top of the head of the user, cheeks, nose, and/or at or along sides of the head of the user instead of or in addition to the temples of the user.
This is an in-depth patent and for finer details, review Apple's patent application number 20210081047.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.