In February 2018 Patently Apple discovered a European Patent filing from Apple that revealed their work on an 8K Foveated Micro-Display for their future Head Mounted VR headset. More recently we posted a report in-part titled "Apple's 8K Foveated Display Technology could apply to both Mini-Displays for a VR Headset." Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 63 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today and one of them is titled "Predictive, foveated virtual reality system." The invention is designed to ease eye strain associated with viewing VR imagery like games for long periods of time.
Apple notes in their granted patent that simulated environments of virtual reality and/or the enhanced content of augmented reality may be utilized to provide an interactive user experience for multiple applications, such as interacting with virtual training environments, gaming, remotely controlling devices or other mechanical systems, viewing digital media content, interacting with the internet, or the like.
Many conventional virtual reality and augmented reality systems on the market today may suffer from latency problems potentially cause eyestrain, headaches, and/or nausea. For example, conventional virtual reality and augmented reality systems may involve significant lag times between the time a user looks in a particular direction and the time that the system is able to display the corresponding scene to the user.
Additionally, the amount of image data required to be captured, generated and/or displayed to the user of a conventional virtual reality system may be so large as to affect the performance of the system (e.g., increased latency) and to increase the cost and/or size of the system.
Predictive, Foveated Virtual Reality System
Apple's granted patent covers methods and systems for a virtual reality (VR) and/or augmented reality (AR) device (e.g., a headset, or head mounted, device) may include a predictive, foveated virtual reality system. A predictive, foveated virtual reality system may be configured to capture views of the world around a user of the system, augment the captured data, generate an augmented view of the world and display that view to the user via a display of the system.
A predictive foveated virtual reality system may also be configured to capture (and render) image data using more than one resolution, such as to possibly reduce overall overhead, cost, workload.
For instance, a virtual reality system may include one or more cameras (or camera systems) configured to capture both low resolution and high resolution image data. Low (or lower) resolution image data may be captured for a wide field of view (e.g., the periphery) while high (or higher) resolution image data may be captured for a narrow field of view (e.g., corresponding to a user's line of sight). Thus, in some embodiments, a predictive, foveated virtual reality system may include one or more lower resolution cameras, as well as one or more higher resolution cameras.
Additionally, a virtual reality system may be configured anticipate a user's movements, such as to look ahead, in order to capture image data, as well as prepare the image data for display, for a predictive, future line of sight, according to some embodiments.
For example, a virtual reality system may be able to determine, based on a user's head and/or eye motion, a predictive line of sight vector along which to capture image data. When the user actually looks in that direction (e.g., the user's actual line of sight approaches the predictive line of sight vector), the system may then display the previously captured (and augmented) view.
Additionally, a predictive, foveated virtual reality system may include one or more sensors and/or mechanisms configured to detect, determine and/or track motion.
For example, a predictive, foveated virtual reality system may include one or more gaze tracking modules configured to detect, determine and/or track eye motion for a user of the system.
Similarly, a predictive, foveated virtual reality system may include one or more accelerometers, gyroscopes, and/or other components, configured to detect, determine and/or track general motion of the system and/or of a user's head while wearing/using the system.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a logical diagram illustrating part of a system configured to implement a Predictive, Foveated Virtual Reality System.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 and FIG. 5 above are a logical diagrams illustrating one embodiment of Predictive, Foveated Virtual Reality System configured to capture image data centered on multiple different angles of view.
Apple's granted patent 10,330,935 was originally filed in Q3 2017 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
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