A little over a year ago, Patently Apple posted a granted patent report titled "'Apple Advances their Work on a Ring Accessory for Virtual Reality Glasses or Headset to Control Content on Screen." Apple's invention covers a ring accessory specifically designed to work with VR glasses or headset that is more accurate than wearing VR gloves. The user will have the option of wearing one or more rings depending on the application at hand. You could review the report linked to above to familiarize yourself with more of the invention.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a schematic diagram of an illustrative system with a ring device; FIG. 2 is a top view of an illustrative finger of a user on which a ring device has been placed; FIG. 4 is a side view of an illustrative expandable ring device on a finger.
Yesterday the US Patent & Trademark Office published a continuation patent from Apple regarding this invention. A continuation patent represents an update to an established patent. In such a filing, Apple is legally able to extend the patent with new or updated information. Any change and/or addition to this invention is restricted to Apple's patent claims.
Right out of the gate, Apple's patent Claim #1 has been updated with richer detail as to what the invention is. The former claim didn't specify the wearable device was to worn on a finger and didn't reveal that the finger device had a hinge.
Claim #1: A system configured to be interacted with by a user, the system comprising: a wearable electronic device configured to be worn on a finger of the user, the wearable electronic device having a hinge that rotates about an axis that is parallel with a longitudinal axis of the user's finger when the wearable electronic device is worn on the user's finger, a visual marker, and a first sensor that gathers input from the user; and a head-mounted device comprising a display viewable by the user and a second sensor that is configured to detect the visual marker to track the wearable electronic device.
Claim #16: "The ring device defined in claim 12 wherein the hinge allows a portion of the housing to be extended."
Apple dropped mention of a "Flexible Tube." The former patent claim stated: "The ring device defined in claim 12 wherein the expandable housing portion is a flexible tube."
Claim #17: "A system comprising: a ring device worn on a user's finger, the ring device comprising: a housing, first communications circuitry configured to send data to external devices; and a head-mounted device comprising: a display configured to generate images, second communications circuitry configured to receive the data from the ring device, wherein the first and second communications circuitry comprise communications circuitry that supports bidirectional communication between the ring device and the head-mounted device, and control circuitry configured to adjust the displayed images based on the received data."
The bolded text in claim #17 above is new. Additionally, Apple dropped the following: "a sensor mounted in the housing, wherein the sensor is configured to generate data in response to movements of the user's finger."
Claim #18. "The system defined in claim 17 wherein the ring device has a hinge that is parallel to the user's finger when the ring device is worn by the user." This is a clean new claim not found in the previous patent.
Apple's continuation patent 20200356137 that was published yesterday by the U.S. Patent Office was originally filed back in Q3 2020. Considering that this is a continuation patent, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.