In January Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's 'Secret' VR Team isn't that Secret Anymore," which covered a Financial Times report claiming that Apple was amassing a major new team of VR experts that are already prototyping future VR headsets designed to keep up with Facebook's lead with the Oculus Rift or even Microsoft's HoloLens. Today, one of Apple's original inventions relating to a future headset was granted to them by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Granted Patent: Peripheral Treatment for Head-Mounted Displays
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to "Methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing and using techniques for projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user. A first display projects an image viewable by a first eye of the user. A first peripheral light element is positioned to emit light of one or more colors in close proximity to the periphery of the first display. A receives data representing a source image, processes the data representing the source image to generate a first image for the first display and to generate a first set of peripheral conditioning signals for the first peripheral light element, directs the first image to the first display, and directs the first set of peripheral conditioning signals to the first peripheral light element. As a result, an enhanced viewing experience is created for the user."
This is Apple's second granted patent for this invention. The first granted patent was granted in 2012 for their 2006 original filing. To review the invention quickly, see our original patent report here covering both Aspherical and Diffractive optics and the general overview of its image generation system.
In this granted patent, Apple has updated their patent claims. One of their new claims #25 now reads as follows: "A computer program product, stored on a non-transitory machine-readable medium, for projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus, the head-mounted display apparatus having a display operable to project a display image viewable by a user and a peripheral light element positioned to emit light of one or more colors in close proximity to the periphery of the display, the computer program product comprising instructions operable to cause a processor to: receive data representing a source image; generate, based on the data representing the source image, a display image; generate, based at least in part on the data representing the source image, a set of peripheral conditioning signals to control the peripheral light element; display the display image on the display; and use the set of peripheral conditioning signals to control colors emitted from peripheral light element."
Apple's iPod team, headed by Tony Fadell (who was just let go at Google), was behind this invention that surfaced prior to the iPhone even coming to market. Apple's granted patent 9,383,582 was filed in June 2012 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
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