A Barrage of Apple HMD Patents were published last week covering Optics, Sensors & Gaze Controls that Extend to Macs and more
Over the weekend Patently Apple posted an IP report titled "A new Mixed Reality Headset Patent from Apple Reveals an Adjustable Headband & Speaker Accessory System using Magnetic Components." The patent, which surfaced last Thursday, was one of four patents covering Apple's Mixed Reality (MR) Headset project that could begin to roll out sometime in 2022-2023 depending on chip and component availability. Today's report covers the remaining three patents, with the first one in more detail.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published Apple's patent application titled "Devices, methods, and GUIs for Gaze-Based Navigation." This particular patent, while focusing on Apple MR Headset, also expanded to GUIs for gazed-based navigation relating to future Macs and iDevices.
Apple notes in their patent filing that there's a need for computer systems with improved methods and interfaces for providing computer generated experiences to users that make interaction with the computer systems more efficient and intuitive for a user. Such methods and interfaces optionally complement or replace conventional methods for providing computer generated reality experiences to users. Such methods and interfaces reduce the number, extent, and/or nature of the inputs from a user by helping the user to understand the connection between provided inputs and device responses to the inputs, thereby creating a more efficient human-machine interface.
In some embodiments, an electronic device expands an item of content in accordance with detection of a user's gaze. In some embodiments, an electronic device scrolls text of a content item in accordance with a determination that the user is reading the content item. In some embodiments, an electronic device navigates between user interfaces in accordance with detection of movement of the user's head and detection of the user's gaze. In some embodiments, an electronic device displays augmented content related to a portion of content in accordance with detection of movement of the user's head and detection of the user's gaze.
The user's gaze is detected using cameras (e.g., cameras integrated with a head-mounted device, installed away from the user (e.g., in a CGR room), or installed facing the user when the user is looking at an image presented by a display generation component (e.g., an array of cameras mounted above a display screen or touch screen)), e.g., as opposed to touch-sensitive surfaces or other physical controllers.
The computing system optionally determines, based on the detected gaze location, which item of content of a plurality of displayed items of content the user is reading and expands the item of content that the user is reading.
n some embodiments, a computer system navigates a user interface based on detecting, via one or more image sensors in communication with the computer system, the gaze and/or head movement of the user.
In some embodiments, a computer system presents augmented content associated with a portion (e.g., a word, image, etc.) of an item of content based on detecting, via one or more image sensors in communication with the computer system, that the gaze and/or head movement of the user is directed toward the portion of content.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 below is a block diagram illustrating a hand tracking unit of a computer system that is configured to capture gesture inputs of the user; FIG. 5 is a block diagram illustrating an eye tracking unit of a computer system that is configured to capture gaze inputs of the user.
There are dozens of patent images and a lot of details that you could explore in Apple's patent application 20210303107.
Other Apple HMD Patents
02: Optical Systems with Authentication and Privacy Capabilities
A head-mounted electronic device may include a display with an optical combiner. The combiner may include a waveguide with first and second output couplers. The first output coupler may couple a first portion of image light at visible wavelengths out of the waveguide and towards an eye box. The second output coupler may couple a second portion of the image light at near-infrared wavelengths out of the waveguide and towards the surrounding environment.
The second portion of the image light may include an authentication code that is used by a secondary device to authenticate the head-mounted device and/or may include a pattern that serves to prevent camera equipment in the surrounding environment from capturing accurate facial recognition information from a user while wearing the head-mounted device.
03: Head-Mounted Electronic Device with Self-Mixing Sensors
An electronic device such as a head-mounted device may have optical components. The optical components may include optical modules that are used to provide images to a user's eyes. The head-mounted device may also have other optical components such as cameras. Components in a head-mounted have the potential to experience misalignment if the device is subjected to stress during a drop event or other high stress event. To ensure that the device operates satisfactory, optical self-mixing sensors may be used to accurately measure the positions of components in the head-mounted device. Actuators may then move the optical components to compensate for any detected changes in position and/or other compensating action may be taken.
Considering that these are patent applications, the timing of such products and/or features coming to market is unknown at this time.