Apple has filed for another patent (number 20190004604) for an “Apple Glove,” a “finger-mounted device with sensors and haptics” It could be used with an augmented reality headset (such as the rumored “Apple Glasses” or a future Mac with a display that could detect and respond to hand gestures.
In the patent filing, Apple says that despite advancements made to render objects in increasingly more accurate and realistic detail, electronic devices are still unable to provide an element of physical interaction with a user. The tech giant says there’s a need to enhance the user’s experience by utilizing a haptic feedback device to generate haptic feedback that corresponds to a user’s movements in order to provide an additional level of realism.
The patent filing is for a VR glove that can measure the movement of individual finger and thumb bones. It can include a plurality of inertial measurement units (IMUs) to track the movement of one or more finger and/or hand sections. The IMUs can include one or more motion sensors, such as a gyroscope and an accelerometer, for measuring the orientation, position, and velocity of objects (e.g., finger bones) that the IMU can be attached.
Per the patent filing, the gloves could be used to control computers and head-mounted display units. They would detect user hand motions and respond, accordingly. Think of Tom Cruise’s air gestures to control a computer interface in Minority Report
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent filing: “According to some embodiments, a haptic feedback component is configured to generate haptic feedback in accordance with movement of a user. The haptic feedback component includes a frame having a size and shape for receiving an appendage of a user, a flexible beam member coupled to the frame, and a haptic feedback element that is coupled to the flexible beam member, wherein the haptic feedback element actuates in response to receiving an electrical signal so as to cause the flexible beam member to displace from an initial configuration to a modified configuration such as to direct the haptic feedback towards the appendage.”
Previous patent filings for an Apple Glove include numbers 20190004604 and 20190101981.