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Apple Advances future Finger Devices that will work with Apple's MR Headset to assist users interact with Real and Virtual Worlds

1 Cover - finger devices for a future headset to control environments


Patently Apple posted three patent reports in 2019 that introduced new Finger Devices designed to intimately work with a future Apple mixed reality headset, especially for VR content. The finger devices will provide users with haptics and the ability to feel objects in a VR environment interact with virtual or real objects in the user's view such as a HomePod, MacBook, TV or Home automation device like a thermostat and so forth. It could allow a user to adopt in-air gestures to make commands to the headset device. You could review these three patent reports here for background (01, 02 and 03).


Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's fourth patent application from Apple on Finger devices for a future headset. Apple quickly points to the basics that were covered in their November patent application and then dives in with more illustrations and details about the finger devices.


Technically, Apple's invention covers a system that includes finger devices. A head-mounted device or other device with a display may display virtual content that is overlaid on real-world content.


A touch sensor may be mounted in a finger device housing to gather input from an external object as the object moves along an exterior surface of the housing. The external object may be, for example, the tip of finger other than a finger received within the finger device.


The touch sensor on a finger device may include a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array of sensor elements. The sensor elements may be capacitive sensor electrodes or touch sensor elements based on optical sensing, ultrasonic sensing, or other types of sensing. In some arrangements, optical sensors, ultrasonic sensors, or other sensors that are mounted in a finger device housing may be configured to gather touch input from an area of a user's finger that is adjacent to the finger device and that is not overlapped by the finger device.


Sensors such as force sensors, ultrasonic sensors, inertial measurement units, optical sensors, and other components in the finger devices may be used in gathering finger input from a user as the user is viewing virtual content presented with the head-mounted device or other electronic equipment.


Finger input from a user may be used to manipulate virtual objects. For example, a virtual object corresponding to a movable control can be moved by a user based on finger input gathered using a finger device or a displayed menu option can be selected.


In some arrangements, a user may interact with real-world objects while computer-generated content is overlaid over some or all of the objects. Rotation of a real-world object and other interactions with a real-world object and the virtual content overlaid on the real-world object may be used as input for controlling the operation of a mixed reality system or other electronic equipment.


Apple's patent FIG. 2 below is a top view of an illustrative finger of a user on which a finger device has been placed; FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of an illustrative finger device on the finger of a user; FIG. 4 is a side view of an illustrative finger device that gathers input from an adjacent area on a finger that is not covered by the finger device in accordance with an embodiment.


2 Apple finger device patent for Headset accessory figs 2  3 and 4


Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a side view of an illustrative finger device showing how virtual content may be overlaid on the surface the device and an adjacent finger surface; FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional top view of a portion of an illustrative finger device having a touch sensor array and strain gauge circuitry and having haptic output circuitry mounted on a bendable elongated arm portion of a housing for the finger device; and FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an illustrative finger device with a sensor such as a depth sensor based on multiple cameras with respective digital image sensors.


Enlarge the patent figure graphic below to read extra notes.


3 Apple patent for finger accessory for MR headset - figs 5  7 & 9


Apple's patent FIG. 12 below is a diagram showing how a user may use multiple finger devices and may use these devices to interact with body parts or other objects; FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an illustrative electronic device and associated computer-generated visual content (virtual content) with which a user may interact using one or more finger devices.


Enlarge the patent figure graphic below to read extra notes.


4 apple finger accessories for HMD FIGS 12 AND 18 PATENTLY APPLE REPORT

Apple's patent application 20200026352 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2 2019. To dig into the finer points of the finger devices, review the patent application here. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


10.51FX - Patent Application Bar


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