Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210149203) for “optical alignment for a head-mountable device.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD) and shows Apple is looking to add the ability to add accessories to such a device.
In the patent data, Apple notes that an HMD can be used as a virtual reality (VR) system, an augmented reality (AR) system, and/or a mixed reality (MR) system. A user may observe outputs provided by the head-mountable device, such as visual information provided on a display. The display can optionally allow a user to observe an environment outside of the head-mountable device.
Other outputs provided by the HMD can include audio output and/or haptic feedback. A user may further interact with the device by providing inputs for processing by one or more components of the head-mountable device. For example, the user can provide tactile inputs, voice commands, and other inputs while the device is mounted to the user’s head.
Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “Head-mountable devices can include adjustment mechanisms to achieve optimal alignment of optical components during and/or after assembly thereof within the head-mountable device. The alignment mechanisms can be integrated into the head-mountable device itself.
“A light projecting display element can be adjustable based on operation of one or more actuators within the head-mountable device (e.g., within an arm) to adjust a position and/or orientation of the light projecting display element relative to the waveguide onto which it projects light. The adjustment mechanisms can adjust the display element during initial assembly and/or be operated by actuators that actively adjust the alignment as needed over time.”
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.”