Apple Won 3 HMD Patents today covering a wide array of high-tech features such as Eye & Gaze Tracking and more
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of three newly granted HMD patents for Apple Inc. today covering a wide range of high-tech features such as eye and gaze tracking, optical sensor interference mitigation structures and more.
1. HMD with Optical Sensor Interference Mitigation Structures
Electronic devices may include optical sensors. Optical sensors sometimes include light-emitting and light-detecting components. Challenges can arise in incorporating optical sensors into electronic devices. If care is not taken, stray light from a light-emitting device can create noise for a light-detecting device. This can adversely affect optical sensor accuracy.
Apple's granted patent covers a head-mounted device may have a transparent member supported by head-mounted support structures. Optical sensors such as time-of-flight sensors and other optical sensors may have light-emitting components and light-detecting components. A stray light blocking structure may be formed in the transparent member. The stray light blocking structure may be configured to block stray light that is traveling laterally through an interior portion of the polymer layer. This prevents the stray light from being received by the light-detecting detecting device. The stray light blocking structure may formed by providing the polymer layer with light redirecting structures such as protrusions and/or recesses. Light-absorbing coatings and/or patterned surfaces such as textured surfaces may be incorporated into the stray light blocking structure.
For details, see Granted patent 11,119,312.
2. HMD with a Display Attached to a Lens Element
A head-mounted device comes with head-mounted structures that allow the devices to be worn on users' heads. The head-mounted devices may include optical systems with lenses. The lenses allow displays in the devices to present visual content to users.
It may be difficult to precisely align lenses with displays. If care is not taken, a lens may be poorly aligned with a corresponding display and the visual content may not be displayed properly.
Apple's second HMD granted patent covers a head-mounted device with support structures. The head-mounted device may have a left lens that directs images from the left portion of the display to a left eye box and a right lens that directs images from the right portion of the display to a right eye box. Each lens may include a lens element that is coupled to the display.
To prevent dust from blocking portions of the display, each lens may include a lens element that has a surface that faces the display and is coupled to the display. The lens element may be attached to the display with a layer of optically clear adhesive or the lens element may be a gel lens element that directly contacts the display. Attaching the lens directly to the display removes any air gap from in front of the display, which may prevent dust or other contaminants from obfuscating the display.
The lens element attached to the display may have protrusions or recesses to accommodate input-output components in the head-mounted device. The lens element may be supported by a lens module support structure. The lens module support structure may have an opening that allows an input-output component such as a camera for gaze detection to operate through the lens element.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a top view of an illustrative head-mounted device including a display attached to a lens module that includes an edge coating; FIG. 6 is a top view of an illustrative head-mounted device including a display attached to a lens module and a support structure around the lens module; and FIG. 10 is a top view of an illustrative head-mounted device with filler material between a display and a lens module
For details, review granted patent 11,119,321.
3. Pupil Modulation as a Cognitive Control Signal
In Apple's third granted HMD patent today they note in their abstract that one exemplary implementation, the invention provides an improved user experience on a device by using physiological data to initiate a user interaction for the user experience based on an identified interest or intention of a user.
For example, a sensor may obtain physiological data (e.g., pupil diameter) of a user during a user experience in which content is displayed on a display. The physiological data varies over time during the user experience and a pattern is detected.
The detected pattern is used to identify an interest of the user in the content or an intention of the user regarding the content. The user interaction is then initiated based on the identified interest or the identified intention.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 illustrates a pupil of a user's eye which could vary in diameter with time and with certain interactions; In FIG. 5, we see an HMD. In various implementations, eye tracking (or, in particular, a determined gaze direction) is used to enable user interaction. In implementations, each image is used to measure or track pupil dilation by measuring a change of the pixel intensities associated with one or both of a user's pupils.
(Click on image to Enlarge)
Apple's patent could also apply to non-HMD applications such as an iPhone or iPad, for instance. For details, review granted patent 11,119,573.
A fourth HMD granted patent was covered earlier today in a report titled "Apple wins a Major HMD patent covering a Direct Retinal Projector System designed to Resolve the Convergence-Accommodation Conflict, that you could review here.