Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,099,634) for “manipulation of virtual objects using a tracked physical object.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD).
About the patent
The patent relates to systems, methods, and devices for presenting content on the display of an electronic device (Apple Glasses). In particular, it involves manipulating virtual objects using a tracked physical object while presenting content on a display of an electronic device.
In the patent, Apple notes that various electronic devices exist, such as HMDs with displays that present users with a computer-generated reality (CGR) environment. Such an environment allow them to be fully immersed in a surrounding physical environment, fully immersed in a virtual reality environment comprising virtual objects, or anywhere in between. While direct manipulation of physical objects in the surrounding physical environment is available to users naturally, the same is not true for virtual objects in the CGR environment.
Apple says that lacking a means to directly interact with virtual objects presented to a user as part of a CGR environment limits a degree to which the virtual objects are integrated into the CGR environment. The tech giant wants to provide users with a means of directly manipulating virtual objects presented as part of CGR environments.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “a method of manipulating virtual objects using tracked physical objects is disclosed. The method involves presenting content including a virtual object and a virtual representation of a proxy device physically unassociated with an electronic device on a display of the electronic device.
“Input is received from the proxy device using an input device of the proxy device that represents a request to create a fixed alignment between the virtual object and the virtual representation in a three-dimensional (“3-D”) coordinate space defined for the content. The fixed alignment is created in response to receiving the input. A position and an orientation of the virtual object in the 3-D coordinate space is dynamically updated using position data that defines movement of the proxy device in the physical environment.”
About Apple Glasses
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive in 2022 or 2023 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 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.”