Apple Invents HMDs with an advanced Optical Module Positioning System to assist in avoiding Distorted or Double Vision+
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to Head Mounted Devices (HMDs) with optical module positioning systems. Specific mechanisms are designed to accommodate users with different interpupillary distances. Interpupillary distance (PD) is a measurement of the distance between the centers of your two eyes. This measurement is used to properly align the centre of lenses with the centre of your eyes. If the centers of the lenses are not aligned properly, then you may experience eyestrain, headaches, distorted vision, double vision and/or blurred vision. The patent applies to both a mixed reality headset and future smartglasses.
Electronic devices such as head-mounted devices may have displays for displaying images. The displays may be housed in optical modules. Lenses may be mounted in the optical modules. Images on the displays may be viewed through the lenses.
A head-mounted device may have optical modules that present images to a user's eyes. Each optical module may have a lens barrel with a display and a lens that presents an image from the display to a corresponding eye box.
To accommodate users with different interpupillary distances, the optical modules may be slidably coupled to guide members such as guide rods. Actuators may slide the optical modules towards or away from each other along the guide rods, thereby accommodating different interpupillary distances.
The guide rods may be formed from fiber-reinforced composite tubes with one or more end caps that are fastened to a frame in the head-mounted device. A common end cap may, if desired, be used to join a pair of guide rods. End caps may be formed as separate pieces that are attached to the ends of the fiber composite tubes or other guide rod structures and/or may be integral portions of the fiber composite tubes or other guide rod structures.
The guide rods may include a left guide rod or left pair of guide rods slidably engaged with a left optical module and a right guide rod or right pair of guide rods slidably engaged with a right optical module. Left and right guide rods may be angled at a non-zero angle with respect to each other to help guide the optical modules parallel to the surface of a user's face.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below is a top view of an illustrative head-mounted device (HMD); FIG. 4 is a rear view of an interior portion of an illustrative HMD.
In the example of FIG. 4 above, cover #12C has been removed to expose internal housing structures such as frame #12FC. Frame #12FC may be formed from polymer support structures, support structurers formed from carbon-fiber composite and/or other fiber-composite materials, metal support structures, glass housing structures, and/or other support structures for main housing portion #12M.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below is a side view of an illustrative portion of an optical module that is configured to receive a guide rail and a threaded actuator rod.
Possible Sensors for HMD
Apple provides a grand overview of the possible sensors that a future HMD could contain in the future as follows:
"Sensors in input-output devices may include force sensors (e.g., strain gauges, capacitive force sensors, resistive force sensors, etc.), audio sensors such as microphones, touch and/or proximity sensors such as capacitive sensors such as a touch sensor that forms a button, trackpad, or other input device), and other sensors.
HMDs may also include depth sensors (e.g., structured light sensors and/or depth sensors based on stereo imaging devices that capture three-dimensional images), humidity sensors, moisture sensors, gaze tracking sensors, electromyography sensors to sense muscle activation, facial sensors, and/or other sensors. In some arrangements, device 10 may use sensors 16 and/or other input-output devices to gather user input. For example, buttons may be used to gather button press input, touch sensors overlapping displays can be used for gathering user touch screen input, touch pads may be used in gathering touch input, microphones may be used for gathering audio input (e.g., voice commands), accelerometers may be used in monitoring when a finger contacts an input surface and may therefore be used to gather finger press input, etc.
Optical sensors may include sensors that emit and detect light, ultrasonic sensors, optical touch sensors, optical proximity sensors, and/or other touch sensors and/or proximity sensors, monochromatic and color ambient light sensors, image sensors, fingerprint sensors, iris scanning sensors, retinal scanning sensors, and other biometric sensors, temperature sensors, sensors for measuring three-dimensional non-contact gestures ("air gestures"), pressure sensors, sensors for detecting position, orientation, and/or motion (e.g., accelerometers, magnetic sensors such as compass sensors, gyroscopes, and/or inertial measurement units that contain some or all of these sensors). HMDs may also include optical sensors such as self-mixing sensors and light detection and ranging (lidar) sensors that gather time-of-flight measurements.
Health sensors may include blood oxygen sensors, heart rate sensors, blood flow sensors, and/or other health sensors, radio-frequency sensors.
Apple's patent application number 20210333506 is deeply detailed. To review Apple's invention, click here.
Aidan Zimmerman: Senior Product Design Engineer
Ivan Marić: Product Design Engineer
David Cramer: Engineer
Zack Feinberg: Product Design Manager
Samuel Resnick: Product Design Engineer