Apple doesn’t want those wearing the rumored “Apple Glasses” (an augmented reality/virtual reality head-mounted display) to go around bumping into things while wearing them. The company has been granted a patent for “redirected walking in virtual reality environments.”
About the patent
As Apple notes in the patent virtual reality (VR) allows users to experience and/or interact with an immersive artificial environment, such that the user feels as if they were physically in that environment. For example, virtual reality systems may display stereoscopic scenes to users in order to create an illusion of depth, and a computer may adjust the scene content in real-time to provide the illusion of the user moving within the scene.
When the user views images through a virtual reality system, the user may feel as if they are moving within the scenes from a first-person point of view. Similarly, mixed reality (MR) combines computer generated information (referred to as virtual content) with real world images or a real world view to augment, or add content to, a user’s view of the world, or alternatively combines virtual representations of real world objects with views of a three-dimensional (3D) virtual world.
The problem with navigating a virtual world is that you may bump into things while moving about in the real world. Apple doesn’t want wearers of the Apple Glasses to get injured while using its head-mounted display.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “Redirected walking methods are described that may be implemented in virtual reality (VR) systems for guiding or redirecting users’ movements within constrained physical environments or in unconstrained physical environments, while the users perceive that they are freely moving about within virtual worlds provided by the VR systems.
“The methods may involve rendering views of a VR world based at least in part on a user’s movements in the real environment, adjusting the views according to the user’s position and movements with respect to objects in and boundaries of the real environment, and displaying the adjusted views to the user. In response to visual cues introduced by the methods, the user may adjust their path in the real world environment. For example, a rotation of the VR environment introduced by a shift of one or more views may cause the user to turn in a direction opposite to the rotation.”
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.”