Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,373,273) for a “method and device for combining real and virtual images.” It involves the rumored “Apple Glasses” headset.
About the patent
In the patent Apple notes that, in an augmented reality experience, virtual objects are presented in a representation of a scene in which the user is present. In a mixed reality experience, a virtual scene is presented including images of real objects in the scene in which the user is present. Accordingly, real image data and virtual image data are combined upon a display. However, combining the real image data and the virtual image data, particularly at high frame rates, presents computational and other challenges. Apple wants to overcome such issues with the Apple Glasses.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “In one implementation, a method includes obtaining, for a particular pixel of an image, a real pixel value and a virtual pixel value. The method includes obtaining, for the particular pixel of the image, a first alpha and a second alpha. The method includes generating, for the particular pixel of the image, a combined pixel value as a weighted average of the real pixel value and the virtual pixel value, the weighting being based on at least one of the first alpha and the second alpha.”
About Apple Glasses
When it comes to Apple Glasses, the rumors are abundant. Such a device will arrive in mid-to-late 2023. Or maybe 2024. 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.”