Apple has been granted another patent (number 10,930,049) regarding the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality/mixed reality head-mounted display (HMD). This one involves “rendering virtual objects with realistic surface properties that match the environment.”
In the patent, Apple notes that HMDs present users with CGR [computer generated reality] environments. These devices often generate CGR environments utilizing pre-canned (or fixed) virtual content.
When presented on a display of a HMD, that pre-canned content provides the same CGR environment without regard to visual coherency between the virtual objects and physical surfaces of the physical environment in which the electronic device is physically located. Apple wants the appearance and blending of virtual and physical (i.e., real) to be seamless on its Apple Glasses.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “In one implementation, a method is disclosed for providing visual coherency between virtual objects and a physical environment. The method includes obtaining, at an electronic device, first content depicting a physical surface in the physical environment using an image sensor of the electronic device. An extrinsic property exhibited by the physical surface is determined based on the first content using a visual coherency model. Second content representing a virtual object is generated based on the extrinsic property to present on a display.”
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive this year or 2022, depending on which rumor you believe. The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks Apple will at least preview it before the end of the year.
It will be a head-mounted display. Or may have a design like “normal” glasses. Or it may be eventually 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.”