Apple Reveals Control Mechanisms for their future Mixed Reality Headset that includes Touch Zones & In-Air Gesturing
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to control systems for a future Mixed Reality Headset in the form of touch zones using force and other forms of finger sensors that could be positioned on both the body and adjustable straps of the HMD. The system will also accept the use of in-air finger gestures.
Apple's patent covers one or more finger sensors that are configured to detect touch input, force input, and/or other input from an external object such as a user's finger may be included in the head-mounted device. A finger sensor may have an elongated shape that runs along a peripheral edge of an external display mounted on the front face. Finger sensors may also be located on other portions of a head-mounted support structure.
A finger sensor may have a touch sensor configured to gather touch input from a finger or other external object, a force sensor configured to gather force input from a finger or other external object, a proximity sensor configured to detect fingers that are not touching the finger sensor, and/or other sensing circuitry. A haptic output device in the electronic device may provide haptic feedback (e.g., when a user supplies input to a finger sensor).
A display may overlap the finger sensor. For example, an elongated finger sensor may be overlapped by a corresponding elongated display or other display structure. Icons and other reconfigurable visual elements may be displayed on the elongated display (e.g., to implement a reconfigurable function row for the wearable electronic device).
In some configurations, visual elements such as icons can be moved between a first display such as a rectangular main external display and a second display such as an elongated strip-shaped display that runs along a peripheral edge of the main display and that overlaps an elongated strip-shaped finger sensor.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 is a top view of a Head Mounted Device (HMD); FIG. 2 is a side view of an illustrative electronic device with input-output components in the form of touch sensors, force sensors and proximity sensors to accept finger touches and/or finger in-air gestures.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below is atop view of an HMD with finger sensor areas that may include slider controls; FIG. 6 illustrates that the HMD may also provide display areas; and FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an illustrative finger sensor formed on a protruding support structure. This may be referencing the use of Apple's Digital Crown that was covered in a separate patent report this morning.
Today, the U.S. Patent Office published Apple's patent application number 20210089150, Q3 2020.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.