Apple has filed for a patent (number 20220027831) for “sensor fusion eye tracking.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses,” an augmented reality/virtual reality headset.
About the patent filing
The patent involves a sensor that physically moves dependently along with the user (e.g., eyeball). For example, a head mounted display (HMD) — i.e., Apple Glasses — moves with user and can provide eye tracking. The second type of eye tracking is remote eye tracking that includes a sensor that physically moves with respect to the user (e.g., separate from or independently of the user).
An advanced eye tracking system and possibly iris recognition could be used for things such as approving payments with Apple Pay. It would also allow for some seamless interaction with a computer-generated environment.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “Some implementations of the disclosure involve, at a device having one or more processors, one or more image sensors, and an illumination source, detecting a first attribute of an eye based on pixel differences associated with different wavelengths of light in a first image of the eye. These implementations next determine a first location associated with the first attribute in a three dimensional (3D) coordinate system based on depth information from a depth sensor.
“Various implementations detect a second attribute of the eye based on a glint resulting from light of the illumination source reflecting off a cornea of the eye. These implementations next determine a second location associated with the second attribute in the 3D coordinate system based on the depth information from the depth sensor, and determine a gaze direction in the 3D coordinate system based on the first location and the second location.”
About Apple Glasses?
When it comes to Apple Glasses, such a device will arrive in late 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.”