Rumours that Apple are planning on releasing a virtual reality headset have circulated for years, and since Apple has announced that it is working on integrating VR and augmented reality features into the iPhone 8, those rumours have only gained in strength.
Now, according to a new report from The Verge, a patent application shows how the technology might be adapted to both a smartphone screen and smart glasses. It also describes how the two devices might be used in tandem:
This embodiment is particularly useful when using a head-mounted display comprising the camera and the screen. For example, the head-mounted display is a video-see-through head-mounted display (HMD). It is typically not possible for the user to touch the head-mounted screen in a manner like a touchscreen. However, the camera that captures an image of the real environment may also be used to detect image positions of the user’s finger in the image. The image positions of the user’s finger could be equivalent to touching points touched by the user’s finger on the touchscreen…
The patent application seems to be describing the potential ability of a device overlaying useful information on the real world, whether through a smartphone or through some type of wearable glasses.
“Apple primarily describes these abilities in relation to a phone: you’d hold it in front of you, the camera would capture the world, and the screen would overlay the context,” reads the report.
Near the end of the application, however, Apple seems to go a bit further in its potential application of the technology, detailing the possibility of utilizing a “semi-transparent spectacle or glasses.” Much like the ill-fated Google Glass, one’s eyes would see the world normally, and the glasses would overlay the digital information on top of one’s vision.
The patent was filed earlier this year in April and published today. As always, it’s worth keeping in mind that Apple patents all kinds of tech that are never released, but given the company’s enthusiasm for augmented reality, rumors about smart glasses do seem at least credible some way in the future.