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An Apple Invention reveals their Future HMD could use a Smart Ring to assist users Measure 3D Objects

1 cover Apple Ring app for future HMD


In mid-July Apple was granted their second patent for their Augmented Reality based ‘Measuring’ app. This week the U.S. Patent Office revealed two patents (01 and 02) covering Apple’s AR “Measure” app in an all-new way, measuring a user’s wrist measurement so that those purchasing an Apple Watch online could better determine which size of watch band that they should be purchasing.


A third ‘measuring’ focused patent that was published on Thursday by the U.S. Patent Office, reveals yet more advancements are in the works including the use of a smart ring.


Apple’s patent background notes that today, the iPhone’s AR ‘Measure’ app allow users to measure an object's size (e.g., a distance between points) by tapping points on a touch screen display showing a physical environment.


Improved measurement techniques may be beneficial, especially for electronic devices with alternative or additional input mechanisms that may be used to identify measurement parameters.


Apple’s invention covers various devices, systems, and methods that provide measurements of a 3D environment via electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and other mobile electronic devices.


For example, techniques disclosed herein may be implemented on electronic devices that provides views or video of a physical environment. In some implementations, a line of sight technique is used to identify a 3D position of a measurement point to enable measurement of an object in a 3D environment.


In some implementations, different measurement point identification techniques are automatically selected and used to identify a 3D position of a measurement point to enable measurement of an object in a 3D environment.


Apple’s patent FIG. 1 below illustrates exemplary measurement techniques for use via an electronic device in a 3D environment that could include: (a) a finger-touching measurement technique (#110), (b) an active gaze-based measurement technique (#120), (c) a controller-based measurement technique (#130 via #105b a smart ring), (d) a fixed crosshair-based measurement technique (#140), and (e) a line of sight-based measurement technique (#150).


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2 x Apple Measurement App advances to accomodate use of Apple Ring device + Line of Sight methods


What Apple tries to hide in their patent filing is that one of the new methods being considered for measuring objects in a 3D environment is that of a future Apple ring accessory device that could be used with an HMD (Head Mounted Device).


On August 9, Patently Apple posted a granted patent report titled "Apple wins a patent for a Specialized Smart Ring System to be used primarily in context with Mixed Reality Applications." This is one of the applications that could be used with Apple's Future smart ring.  


Apple hides this revelation by noting a ring in their patent figure, which can't be word searched, and in the body of the patent, they simply refer to patent point feature #105b, a ring, as a "controller."


For more details, review Apple's patent application number 20220261085.


Other Apple Patents relating to smart rings (01 and 02). Earlier this month Patently Apple covered a new patent from Samsung regarding a smart ring. A year ago we covered a smart ring patent from Google and Amazon released a smart ring product and killed it in 2020. In May, the U.S. Patent Office published a smart ring patent application from Microsoft.


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3 Microsoft smart ring patent figs  Patently Apple IP report


Microsoft's patent goes on to illustrate that their smart ring could eventually work as a controller for televisions, PCs (desktops, notebooks, tablets) and wearables (a smartwatch, HMD and smartglasses).


While Apple's smart ring is likely to be closely associated with their future HMD, it's unknown at this time whether their smart ring will debut at launch or at some future date down the road.  


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