Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,453,267) for a “method for representing virtual information in a view of a real environment.” It’s one of several patent filings that hint at features of the anticipated “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display.
In the patent filing info, Apple says that, so far, approaches to such devices “have the disadvantage that they do not permit a simple integration of other users in the AR scenes.” Also, most systems based on GPS and compass have the disadvantage that these devices cogently have to be provided and that there may be great inaccuracies occurring, the company says. Apple thinks it has a better method.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “A method for representing virtual information in a view of a real environment comprises providing a virtual object having a global position and orientation with respect to a geographic global coordinate system, with first pose data on the global position and orientation of the virtual object, in a database of a server, taking an image of a real environment by a mobile device and providing second pose data as to at which position and with which orientation with respect to the geographic global coordinate system the image was taken.
“The method further includes displaying the image on a display of the mobile device, accessing the virtual object in the database and positioning the virtual object in the image on the basis of the first and second pose data, manipulating the virtual object or adding a further virtual object, and providing the manipulated virtual object with modified first pose data or the further virtual object with third pose data in the database.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.