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Yesterday, Apple won 57 patents covering current & future HMD technologies such as a Lenticular Display, Head & Eye Tracking & more

1 cover eye tracking system of Apple Vision Pro

Yesterday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 57 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. In this particular report we cover three HMD related patents covering a lenticular display, Head and Eye-Tracking systems and more. And as always, we wrap up this week's granted patent report with our traditional listing of the remaining granted patents that were issued to Apple this week.

Displays With Viewer Tracking

2z  Eye tracking sysetm image from WWDC23 keynote(Click on image to Enlarge)

Mike Rockwell, VP Technology Development Group, introduced the finer aspects of Apple Vision Pro during Apple's WWDC23 Keynote. In one segment, Rockwell noted that Vision Pro provides "A high performance eye-tracking system that uses high-speed cameras and a ring of LEDs that project invisible light patterns onto the eyes for responsive, intuitive input. It's so precise, it completely frees up your hands from needing clumsy hardware controllers (Mike Rockwell).

Rockwell went on to introduce EyeSight that utilizes a unique curved panel with a lenticular lens to project the correct perspective of your eyes to each person looking at you. The result is a 3D display that makes the device look transparent.

3 OLED PANEL WITH A Lenticular Lens(Click on image to Enlarge)

Yesterday's granted patent covers an HMD may include a lenticular display. The lenticular display may have a lenticular lens film formed over an array of pixels. The lenticular lenses may be configured to enable stereoscopic viewing of the display such that a viewer perceives three-dimensional images. The display may have a number of independently controllable viewing zones. An eye and/or head tracking system may use a camera to capture images of a viewer of the display.

Control circuitry in the electronic device may use the captured images from the eye and/or head tracking system to determine which viewing zones are occupied by the viewer's eyes. The control circuitry may disable or dim viewing zones that are not occupied by the viewer's eyes in order to conserve power. An unoccupied viewing zone and an adjacent, occupied viewing zone may display the same image to increase sharpness in the display.

Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of an HMD having a display and an eye and head tracking system;  FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing illustrative method steps involved in operating an electronic device with a display and a head tracking system such as the electronic device of FIG. 6;   FIG. 12 is a side view of an illustrative display showing how a secondary viewing cone may be utilized based on viewer eye position information.

4 head and eye tracking system Apple patent granted - Sept 2023 - patently apple . com report

Apple's patent FIG. 6 above is a schematic diagram of an illustrative electronic device showing how information from eye and/or head tracking system #18 may be used to control operation of the display.

Further, the eye and/or head tracking system may be referred to as a viewer tracking system, head tracking system or tracking system that will use one or more cameras such as camera #54 to capture images of the area in front of the display where a viewer is expected to be present.

The tracking system may use the captured images to identify a position of the viewer relative to the viewing zones. In other words, the tracking system may be used to determine which viewing zone(s) the viewer is occupying. Each eye of the user may be associated with a different viewing zone (in order to allow three-dimensional content to be perceived by the user from the display).

Based on the captured images, the tracking system may identify a first viewing zone associated with a left eye of the viewer and a second viewing zone associated with a right eye of the viewer. The tracking system may use one camera, two cameras, three cameras, more than three cameras, etc. to obtain information on the position of the viewer(s). The cameras in the tracking system may capture visible light and/or infrared light images. 

For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11750795. 

Other HMD Related Patents

Electronic Devices With Optical Component Protection

Patent Abstract: A head-mounted device may have a head-mounted housing. The head-mounted housing may have rear-facing displays that display images for a user. The images are viewable from eye boxes while the head-mounted device is being worn by the user. A publicly viewable front-facing display may be mounted on a front face of the head-mounted housing. A display cover layer may overlap a pixel array associated with the front-facing display. An inactive border area of the display cover layer may overlap optical components. Shutter systems may be provided between the display cover layer and the optical components to selectively block light. Actuators may move shutter members or other movable members to cover and uncover the optical components. A removable cover may be used to protect the display cover layer and may have portions in different areas that have different optical properties. For more, review granted patent 11747632.

Synthesized Camera Arrays For Rendering Novel Viewpoints

Patent Abstract: Novel viewpoints may be rendered using arrays of camera images with synthesized viewpoints. Different viewpoints of a scene may be captured via image sensors. Depth information may be determined for the captured viewpoints. An array of images may be generated that includes synthetic viewpoints generated from the captured viewpoints and depth information. A request to render a novel viewpoint may be received. Then novel viewpoint may be rendered using the array of images with synthetic viewpoints. For more details, review granted patent 11748918.

This Week's Remaining Granted Patents

6 -  WEEKLY APPLE GRANTED PATENTS FOR SEPT 5  2023 - patently apple . com report

10.52FX - Granted Patent Bar


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