Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,877,557) for an “IMU-based glove” that hints at an “Apple Glove” for use with the rumored “Apple Glasses.” They can be worn over the user’s hands and can allow the user to touch, feel, and hold virtual objects in real-time.
It involves a virtual reality (VR) glove capable of measuring the movement of individual finger and thumb bones. The Apple Glove 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. An IMU can be located proximate to a finger (or thumb) bone and can measure the inertial motion of the corresponding bone. The Apple Glove may also include magnetometers to determine the direction of the geo-magnetic field. What’s more, it can also include one or more other electronic components, such as a plurality of electrodes for sensing the heading, enabling capacitive touch, and/or contact sensing between finger tips.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that VR technology can be used for many applications such as military training, educational learning, and video games. VR technology can use one or more electronic devices to simulate a virtual environment and the user’s physical presence in that virtual environment. One type of VR technology is augmented reality (AR) technology, where the user’s real environment can be supplemented with computer-generated objects or content. Another type of VR technology is mixed reality (MR) technology, where the user’s real environment and the virtual environment can be blended together.
VR/AR/MR technology can be simulated using one or more electronic devices. One electronic device can be a VR headset (the rumored Apple Glasses) where the user can use the VR headset to see the simulated virtual environment. As the user moves his or her head to look around, a display included in the headset can update to reflect the user’s head movement. It can include one or more cameras. The one or more cameras can be used to capture the user’s real environment in AR technology and/or can be used for positional tracking.
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive next year or 2022, depending on which rumor you believe. It will be a head-mounted display. Or may have a design like “normal” glasses. Or it may be available in both. The Apple Glasses may or may not have to be tethered to an iPhone to work. Other rumors say that Apple Glasses could have a custom-build Apple chip and a dedicated operating system dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system.”