Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210199974) for a “display system with virtual image distance adjustment and corrective lenses.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD).
Background of the patent filing
The idea behind the patent filing sounds good to eyeglasses wearers such as myself. Of course, HMDs are provided with head-mounted structures that allow the devices to be worn on users’ heads. And they may include optical systems with lenses. The lenses allow displays in the devices to present visual content to users.
However, as Apple notes, some users of head-mounted devices have visual defects such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or presbyopia. It can be challenging to ensure that an optical system in a HMD displays computer-generated content satisfactorily and provides an acceptable viewing experience for users with visual defects.
Apple says, “if care isn’t taken, it may be difficult or impossible for a user with visual defects to focus properly on content that is being displayed or content may otherwise not be displayed as desired.” The tech giant doesn’t want this to be a problem with any HMD it makes.
About Apple Glasses
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.”
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “A head-mounted device may have a display that displays computer-generated content for a user. The head-mounted device may have an optical system that directs the computer-generated image towards eye boxes for viewing by a user. The optical system may be a see-through optical system that allows the user to view a real-world object through the optical system while receiving the computer-generated image or the optical system may include a non-removable lens and a removable vision correction lens through which an opaque display is viewable.
“The optical system may include a removable lens. The removable lens may serve as a custom vision correction lens to correct for a user’s vision defects. The optical system may have a projection bias lens that places computer-generated content at one or more desired virtual image distances and a corresponding compensation bias lens.”