Apple's First-Gen Mixed Reality Headset is to Introduce Breakthrough Display Technology
Although Samsung announced that their Galaxy Watch5 offers a temperature sensor to get ahead of Apple, it's yet to receive Government Approval

Patently Apple takes a look at a few interesting Mixed Reality Eyewear Patents from Google & Facebook

1 vx cover Facebook patent image from recent patent filing


As Apple gets closer to launching their all-new first generation mixed reality headset using high-end OLEDoS displays, it's getting exciting for fans. As an IP news site, Patently Apple has covered a wide range of Apple patents on this subject of eyewear (glasses and HMDs), in fact 359 patents to be exact. As Apple gets closer to unveiling their headset, Patently Apple will be keeping a closer look at some of what Apple's competitors are doing in this field under 'Patently Mobile' reports.


In today's report we cover a single interesting patent from Google and two from Facebook. If this segment of technology is of interest to you, then you just might want to see what Apple's competitors are up to.


Google Patent

Smartglasses with Adaptive Microphone Beam Steering


Google's European patent application WO2022164572 relates to their future smartglasses device integrating microphone beam forming which is a technique for increasing a receiving sensitivity of a microphone array in a particular direction (or directions), as compared with other directions.


Beamforming may be used to steer the sensitivity of a head-worn microphone array towards a sound source to improve a quality of the audio from the sound source. A problem of misalignment of the steered sensitivity may occur, however, when a head position/orientation (i.e., head-pose) of a user wearing the head-worn microphone array is changed.


Accordingly, Google's devices and methods will provide an adaptive beamforming technique for a head-worn microphone array that can adapt to (i.e., is tolerant of) changes in the user’s head position/orientation.


Google's solution may have the technical effect of improving a quality of the audio captured by the head-worn microphone array while providing a user more freedom of movement.


Adaptive beamforming may also have the technical effect of providing a layer of privacy. For example, beamforming can maintain the focus of the microphone array on a specific person in conversation with the user and prevent the amplification of audio received from bystanders.


A problem associated with adaptive beamforming is its processing requirements. Google's smartglasses are described as providing methods that will provide a means for reducing the processing requirements of adaptive beamforming.


In Google's patent FIG. 2 below you'll see a perspective view of their proposed smartglasses configured to generate beamformed audio. Patently Apple has added a detailed breakdown of the important components of the smartglasses as per their patent specifications.  


2 Google Euro patent WO2022164572 - FIG. 2 - Patently Mobile Patent report


Google's patent FIG. 3 A below is a possible polar plot of a sensitivity of a head-worn microphone array having a beam steered in a first direction when a head of a user is in a first position; FIG. 3B is a possible polar plot of a sensitivity of a head-worn microphone array having a beam steered in a second direction when a head of a user is in a second position; FIG. 3C is a possible polar plot of a sensitivity of a head-worn microphone array having a beam steered in a third direction when a new speaker is detected by an ambient microphone.


3 Google Euro patent WO2022164572 - figs. 3A-C & 5 - Patently Mobile Patent report


Google's patent FIG. 5 above is a flowchart of a method for generating beamformed audio based on a conversation layout according to a possible implementation. For more details, review Google's patent application here.


Two Facebook  Headset Patents


Two somewhat interesting headset patents from Facebook came to light between June 30 and July and August 06 and briefly highlighted below.  


First: Facebook's Patent Application 20220239893, published by the U.S. Patent Office on July 28, 2022, covers "Reverse Pass-Through Feature for a Mixed Reality Headset."


Facebook's Patent Abstract: A device for providing a reverse pass-through view of a user of a headset display to an onlooker includes an eyepiece comprising an optical surface configured to provide an image to a user on a first side of the optical surface. The device also includes a first camera configured to collect an image of a portion of a face of the user reflected from the optical surface in a first field of view, a display adjacent to the optical surface and configured to project forward an image of the face of the user, and a screen configured to receive light from the display and provide the image of the face of the user to an onlooker – as illustrated in patent FIG. 1B.


(Click on the image below to Enlarge)

4 facebook headset patent for reverse pass-through headset for mixed reality devices


For more details, review the full patent application here.


Second: Facebook's Patent Application 20220206586, published by the U.S. Patent Office on June 30, 2022, covers "Stabilizing Gestures used in Mixed Reality Environments."


Facebook notes in their filing that a virtual reality environment may generally include a computer-generated environment that includes virtual reality artifacts such as virtual locations, virtual events, and the like. Such a virtual world and its artifacts typically include various virtual applications (e.g., virtual video games), which, may allow users to utilize these artifacts by manipulating their virtual presence in the form of their computer-generated representation commonly known as avatars. Certain virtual reality applications (e.g., virtual reality video games, virtual reality tours, virtual reality interfaces) may allow different users to meet up to socialize, to collaborate on one or more tasks within the virtual reality applications, or to compete against one another within the virtual environments.


Controllers may generally be used by the user to interact within the virtual environment. Though, in some instances, allowing users to utilize one or more body members (e.g., hands) to interact within virtual environments may enhance the user's virtual reality experience, particularly with respect to, for example, first-person point of view (POV) virtual video games.


However, due to a lack of any positioning data being received by the virtual reality device from the body member of the user, certain movements or hand gestures may be difficult to track and determine by the virtual reality device. For example, if the user were to gesture in mid-air to manually interact with a virtual user interface, the user's hand tremors, hand jitters, and more generally any hand motional pattern or hand movement pattern that may be associated with a particular user would prevent the user from providing a command or selection within the virtual reality environment.


It may therefore be useful to provide techniques to learn user-specific motional patterns and stabilizing hand gestures in artificial reality environments.


(Click on the image below to Enlarge)

5 Faceook patent application for hand gestures for HMD


For more details, review the full patent application here.


16.1AA - Patently Mobile - Patent Reports


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