Thursday, January 20, 2022

Apple granted patent for ‘optical system for a head-mounted display’

Apple has been granted a patent (number 11.175,503) for an “optical system for a head-mounted display (HMD.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality system.

About the patent

HMDs such as virtual reality glasses use lenses to display images for a user. A display may create images for each of a user’s eyes. A lens may be placed between each of the user’s eyes and a portion of the display so that the user may view virtual reality content. 

However, as Apple notes, if care isn’t taken, an HMD may be vulnerable to damage. An optical system in the head-mounted display may include a lens directly adjacent to a display, which runs the risk of unwanted collisions between the lens and the display in the event that the head-mounted display is dropped or hit by an external object. 

Such collisions can damage the lens and the display in the head-mounted device. Apple says it would be “desirable to be able to provide improved head-mounted displays.”

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A head-mounted display may include a display system and a lens system in a housing. The head-mounted display may include control circuitry that operates the head-mounted display in an active use mode and a protected mode. In the protected mode, the display system may be protected from collisions with the lens system. 

“Placing the head-mounted display in the protected mode may include using an actuator to increase the distance between the display system and the lens system, may include injecting fluid between the display system and the lens system, and/or may include deploying a protective layer between the display system and the lens system. The control circuitry may determine whether to operate the head-mounted display in protected mode or active use mode based on sensor data, on/off status information, location information, and/or other information.”

About Apple Glasses

hen 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.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.