Apple Invents an VR Headset that Auto Adjusts the Display to Provide a Natural 180º View of Objects like a Virtual TV
According to Apple, virtual content may be difficult to view at peripheral portions of a VR headset display. For example, the virtual content may be clipped-off as the virtual content approaches a peripheral edge of the display. In the case of an optical see-through display, the limited dynamic range of the transparent display may make seeing or understanding the virtual content difficult at the limits of the optical see-through display's field of view (e.g., inactive border regions of the display). For example, virtual content may be difficult to view in circumstances where the optical see-through display has a small or narrow field of view.
Some VR displays provide users with a 100º view of a scene compared to what humans are used to having naturally, which is approximately 180º view. It's an issue that's been dubbed "tunnel vision."
In a patent filing published by the U.S. Patent office on Thursday, Apple provides their solution that addresses this issue for an HMD and not smartglasses or 'Apple Glass' as reported by some.
Apple's patent covers devices, systems, and methods for providing computer generated reality (CGR) content that include adjusting a display characteristic of a virtual object as it approaches a periphery of a field of view (FOV).
Field of view (FOV): The FOV for an electronic device describes the angular extent of the electronic device, that is, the amount of a given scene that is viewable to a user of the electronic device. The human eye has a 180º FOV, and typically the images projected on displays of electronic devices only show a much smaller FOV. This is largely due to the limitations of the lenses that are used to record the image. Various implementations of the present invention, provide mechanisms for enhancing display of virtual content, particularly at the periphery edges of the FOV of an electronic device.
In various implementations in an optical see-through device, rather than allowing visuals that are outside of the FOV of the device to be "clipped" (e.g., a portion of a virtual object that is outside of the FOV may appear to be missing or cut off), visuals have behaviors that are aware of the FOV of the device.
Apple's main example relates to a virtual television (TV) that may be displayed full-size and centered on a wall based on a desired location in three-dimensional (3D) world space and its size/shape characteristics.
Further, it may be determined that an edge of the FOV will intersect the virtual object by comparing a boundary of the virtual object to the FOV (e.g., the FOV will clip off the left 10 inches of the virtual TV). In some implementations, the FOV is determined based on a property of the display. Moreover, in some implementations, the FOV is determined based on a movement of a user or device. For example, the FOV may shift as a user rotates the device.
A virtual TV may be scaled smaller so that it fits entirely within the FOV of the display or the virtual TV may be displayed as an icon/app logo rather than the virtual TV.
Moreover, an edge of the virtual TV may be anchored to the edge of the FOV, the edge of the virtual TV may be dematerialized, or polygon flipping of the edge of the virtual TV may be performed for the portion of the virtual TV that would fall outside of the periphery of the FOV of the display.
In patent FIG. 1 Apple's patent numbering of items is out of sync with the patent figure. Apple's patent numbering of items adds a "1" to every number so that 35 in the patent figure is 135 in the patent verbiage. What that said, Apple notes that in some implementations, the virtual object (#135) may appear to the user (#115) to be fixed in space in the physical environment (#105, just 5 in the patent figure) at some distance in front of the user.
As shown in FIG. 1 below, the virtual object 135 (e.g., a projection of a virtual TV) may appear to the user to be fixed at some distance in front of the user (e.g., a few meters, or even appearing as a giant virtual TV filling front wall (130). In some implementations, the virtual TV may be partially transparent so that the user may view the scene behind the virtual TV.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 above illustrates the CGR experience provided by FIG. 1 in which a field of view (FOV) of the electronic device is shifted as HMD is rotated. For example, a virtual TV may move towards an edge of an FOV of an HMD as a user rotates their HMD relative to the physical environment, and anchored position of the virtual TV.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method of providing a view of a CGR environment.
Apple later notes that beyond a virtual TV, object #135 could also include various display windows (e.g., directories, browsers, web pages, productivity tools (e.g., word processors), email applications or email messages, messaging applications, game windows, video (e.g., video from a video streaming application), text, animations, etc.
For finer details, review Apple's patent application number 20210048680. The sole inventor listed on the patent is Luis R. Deliz Centeno. He's credited on other Apple patents related to a future headset as follows:
01: Gaze-based user Interactions
02: Computer Systems with Finger Devices
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.