Apple reveals future smart ring designs like a multi-ring system & rings that work with Apple Watch to control on-screen content
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a second patent application from Apple that relates to possible future smart rings. Apple illustrates different kind of ring systems including a multi-ring system and rings that work with Apple Watch. Apple believes that light weight rings will be superior input devices for their future mixed reality headset than complicated controllers that are used with devices like Oculus. The rings will also eventually work with other Apple devices such as an iMac, MacBook, AirPods, iPhone, iPad and more.
Various devices can be operated by a user with one or more of a variety of input devices that receive user inputs. The user inputs can be communicated to another device for execution of an action that corresponds to the user input. For example, a head-mountable device can be worn by a user to display visual information within the field of view of the user. The head-mountable device can be used as a virtual reality (VR) system, an augmented reality (AR) system, and/or a mixed reality (MR) system.
A user may observe outputs provided by the head-mountable device, such as visual information provided on a display. The display can optionally allow a user to observe an environment outside of the head-mountable device. Other outputs provided by the head-mountable device can include speaker output and/or haptic feedback. A user may further interact with the head-mountable device by providing inputs for processing by one or more components of the head-mountable device and/or by components of an input device that is separate from the head-mountable device.
For example, the user can provide tactile inputs, voice commands, and other inputs while the head-mountable device is mounted to the user's head.
While some input devices are bulky or require separate tracking mechanisms, an input device can desirably provide a user with intuitive input options while remaining compact. Additionally, some types of input can be provided in VR, AR, and/or MR applications without requiring tracking of the input devices. As such, the input device can be made compact enough to be worn regularly, such that the user does not find the device to be bothersome to be worn regularly.
By providing an input device that is already worn regularly by the user, the user can enter a VR, AR, and/or MR session without requiring the additional step of donning the input devices. Accordingly, a ring input device of the present disclosure can provide a compact form factor that is also able to seamlessly allow the user to perform complex interactions without compromising the overall comfort.
Some wearable devices, such as rings, can become uncomfortable when using them for extended periods. This can lead the user to adapt by employing unnatural movements, which can lead to an overall poor user experience.
Accordingly, a ring input device of the present disclosure can be easily adjusted and provide user comfort while retaining the functions of the input device.
A ring input device can further act as a security key to unlock and control one or more other devices.
The ring input device can include biometric or other security features that allow it to operate as an identifier of the user wearing the device.
The ring input device can then communicate with other devices to allow the user to efficiently and securely interact with each of the devices.
A feedback device can further be worn by a user to provide force feedback while remaining portable and compact. Some feedback devices are bulky and require a significant amount of time for donning prior to use.
In contrast, a compact feedback device can be worn in a variety of configurations for portability, efficient deployment, and effective feedback during use.
Apple's patent FIG. 16 below illustrates a schematic view of a ring input device and various external devices such as a MacBook, AR/VR Headset, iMac, iPhone and AirPods; FIG. 2 illustrates a ring input device #100 that can include an outer ring #110 and an inner ring #150; FIG. 12, a ring input device is shown receiving a force that results in tilting or sliding of components.
In some embodiments, the outer ring may tilt or slide to move a cursor or other type of selection mechanism from a first displayed location to a second displayed location in order to select an icon or move the selection mechanism between various items that are output on the display.
Apple's patent FIG. 17 below illustrates a side view of a feedback system including an Apple Watch and a pair of ring elements on a finger of the user; FIG. 18 illustrates a side view of the feedback system of FIG. 17 with the pair of ring elements separated from each other on the finger of the user.
Apple's patent FIG. 19 above illustrates a side view of the feedback system of FIGS. 17 and 18 with a tensioning element attaching the watch to the pair of ring elements.
Apple's patent FIG. 20 illustrates a side view of the feedback system of FIGS. 17-19 with the tensioning element limiting movement of the finger.
Apple's patent FIG. 25 illustrates a block diagram of a system including an external device and a ring input device.
This is a very detailed patent and you could review those details by reviewing Apple's patent application number 20210096657.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.