Earlier this year we posted a report titled "Apple is definitely working on a Top Secret VR Project." The report pointed to Apple's string of job posting for a Sr. Display Systems Engineer related to VR Environments. Today the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals that they've breathed new life into a 2008 invention that was granted to them this past February.
Apple invention provides a video headset frame that allows a user to slide an iPhone or iPod into to provide the video. The headset adds features like a Picture-in-Picture (PIP) so that a user can keep an eye on their outside surroundings if they need to or keep on top of email and so forth. The system will have some physical controls but other controls may be set off by voice commands – or perhaps Siri. The system also offers advanced haptics in the earplug area so as to enhance Movie sound effects.
Considering that Apple has just revised their iPod touch lineup with their powerhouse A8 processor with 10X the graphics, the idea of using an iPod in a headset doesn't look that silly any longer.
The Key Changes/Additions to Apple's Headset Patent Claims
The foundation of Apple's invention remains intact. What has changed in this invention is that Apple has completely set new patent claims. Apple has added key attributes of the headset to their claims such as adding a touch sensor and speaker to the head-mounted carrier; adding a speaker to the "eyeglass temple"; adding a "longitudinal sensor" on the eyeglass temple; adding an "accelerometer configured to detect the user's head movements; adding a "camera" to the head-mounted carrier; adding that the headset is "configured to integrate with a cellular telephone" wherein "the frame places a display screen of the cellular telephone in front of the user's eyes; and an optical sub-assembly configured to receive at least one image frame from the display screen of the cellular telephone, wherein the optical sub-assembly is interposed between the display screen and the user's eyes."; and lastly, Apple notes that " The head-mounted device defined in claim 22, wherein the head-mounted device is configured to give the illusion of viewing media in three dimensions to the user.
Apple credits Quin Hoellwarth as the sole inventor of patent application 20150198811 which was filed in Q12015. You could read all about the foundational features of this invention in Apple's original patent application that we covered back in 2010 here.
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