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‘Apple Glasses’ may be a self-cleaning AR/VR device

The rumored “Apple Glasses” may be self-cleaning, according to a newly granted patent (number 11,327,316) for “particle control for head-mountable device.” It involves Apple’s rumored augmented reality/virtual reality device.

About the patent 

In the patent, the tech giant says that a head-mountable device can be worn by a user to display visual information within the field of view of the user. The head-mountable device can be used as a virtual reality (VR) system, an augmented reality (AR) system, and/or a mixed reality (MR) system. 

A user may observe outputs provided by the head-mountable device, such as visual information provided on a display. The display can optionally allow a user to observe an environment outside of the head-mountable device. Other outputs provided by the head-mountable device can include speaker output and/or haptic feedback. 

A user may further interact with the head-mountable device by providing inputs for processing by one or more components of the head-mountable device. For example, the user can provide tactile inputs, voice commands, and other inputs while the device is mounted to the user’s head. 

However, as with all electronic devices, the lens of the Apple Glasses will get dusty and affect clarity. Naturally, Apple doesn’t want this to happen. 

The company’s solution: An optical module that removes particles from an optical pathway and captures the particles so they do not interfere with the user’s view of and/or through optical elements. For example, the display element and/or another optical element can be moved in a manner that releases particles on a viewing surface thereof. 

The optical module can include a particle retention element that securely retains the particles so that they remain outside of the optical pathway. The movement of the display element and/or another optical element can be performed periodically, based on user input, based on conditions detected by an internal sensor, and/or based on conditions detected by an external device. 

The movement of the display element and/or another optical element can be achieved with one or more actuators in one or more of a variety of movement patterns to release the particles. Apple says such particle removal and retention can improve and maintain the quality of a user’s visual experience via the optical module. 

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A head-mountable device can provide an optical module that removes particles from an optical pathway and captures the particles so they do not interfere with the user’s view of and/or through optical elements. For example, the display element and/or another optical element can be moved in a manner that releases particles on a viewing surface thereof. 

“The optical module can include a particle retention element that securely retains the particles so that they remain outside of the optical pathway. Such particle removal and retention can improve and maintain the quality of a user’s visual experience via the optical module.”

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.”

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.
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